Posted on 28 Comments

Northwood Civic Association Meeting

Barry makes the case for supporting the Bridge

Northwood Civic met last night with a crowd of about 40 people.

Discussion about the Volunteers of America Property at 4871 Roosevelt Boulevard which violates the deed restriction focused on strategies for dealing with the organization.  The VOA is a huge, well funded organization that has the resources to overwhelm a much smaller civic like Northwood.  However, the fight will continue.  The civic does not oppose the individuals who currently reside in the property.  The issue is that the property is not a single family dwelling and therefore violates a deed restriction previously upheld by the courts.  The VOA could resolve this situation but chooses to ignore it.

The big issue at the meeting was the proposal to support the Bridge in their desire to move into the property on Adams Avenue.  The Bridge is a residential and out patient drug treatment facility for adolescent boys.  Barry Howell, President of the Civic announced that the Juniata Civic Association at their last meeting had unanimously voted to support the Bridge.

In a vote by the Board of Directors of the Northwood Civic taken prior to the meeting, they had unanimously approved the issue.  A detailed explanation of the reasons for support was given to the members in attendance and a vote was held.  The members gave their approval with one or two dissenting votes.

The overriding reason for supporting the Bridge at this point seems to be the threat that if its not the Bridge, it could be something else much worse.  My point is that it might be something better.  Threats to turn the old Parkview Hospital on Wyoming Avenue into a huge drug rehab were opposed and eventually the Cancer Treatment Centers came in and took over the property. 

Have a look at NEastPhilly for their coverage of the meeting here.

28 thoughts on “Northwood Civic Association Meeting

  1. I thought the location for the Bridge was in Frankford and that being the case why would the Juniata Civic and the Northwood Civic get behind the local politicians before they find out how Frankford feels about the Bridge. Maybe the Juniata Civic should look for a good location for the Bridge in Juniata. I’m sure Juniata must have some empty lots or space that could accomodate the needs of the Bridge. I’m very disappointed that Barry Howell, of Northwood Civic, didn’t say “we want to see how the people of Frankford feel about the Bridge before we make a comment one way or the other because we support the Frankford Civic”.

    Of course there is a very good chance the Frankford Civic will also vote in favor of the Bridge moving into our location but the other two civic associations should have waited until after the Frankford Civic vote.

    Also, I’m not an opponent of the “it could be worse philosophy”, which Barry Howell and the local politicians seem to adhere to, as a reason for the Bridge moving into Frankford.

  2. Sorry, I meant to say “I am an opponent of the “it could be worse philosophy”….

  3. To Lorraine: the Bridge contacted Barry Howell about this project. Barry is the one that notified Frankford and Juniata about this right away and made sure they were well informed. This site borders Northwood, Juniata and Frankford so closely that keeping all groups involved only makes sense. Do you ignore gunshots because they’re on the other side of your street? Of course not. Boundaries are for seperatists and seperatists never make any progress; they simply watch everything crumble around them. Bringing all the groups together is probably one of the smartest things this area could do. There are so many negative elements destroying this area of the city that cooperation between civics, etc. only creates greater support and strength in combatting blight. As for NW and Juniata being behind politicians; NW is not a politically influenced organization unlike some of the neighboring civics.

    For my own support or opposition to The Bridge; I live in NW and am only blocks from this proposed site. Do I remain silent because I don’t live in it’s (Frankford’s) ‘boundaries’, NO WAY. Last I checked my mail said Philadelphia PA, not Northwood, Frankford or Juniata.

  4. Your right, we all live in the city of Philadelphia. However, Philadelphia is a city of neighborhoods. And we offer support of our neighborhoods by not publicly promoting a facility prior to finding out how the people in the neighborhood feel who would be directly affected by that facility. If a drug facility wanted to move into Juniata it would not be my place to publicly endorse that facility to the point where I would write a letter to the zoning commission, without first finding out how my neighbors in Juniata felt about the drug facility.

    As to the building site bordering Northwood – I was always under the impression that Northwood ended, to the South, at Harrison St. or no further than Arrott St. I doubt very much that you would hear a gunshot that was fired from Unity & Adams Ave. if you lived North of Arrott St.

  5. Lorraine, I totally disagree with you. You have every right to endorse, or not, a facility anywhere in the city. As for gunshots; I can here them as far away as Frankford Ave and across to Summerdale. I see you are still hung up on borders as well. Many parts of Frankford are a complete mess; you all should be welcoming the help.

  6. Oh yeah Lorraine, The Bridge is not a drug facility either as you have mentioned. Did you attend any of the meetings????? or are you just speculating and relying on hearsay? Northwood, Juniata, and Frankford would all be affected by this property location; Juniata and Northwood more that Frankford. I’m guessing that you would like to see the short dumping, drug addicts, and litter remain at this site? Please attend the Frankford Civic meeting and propose an alternate use for this land; I really want to witness first hand the creativity and developmental ideas Frankford residents have for this property. Legal Development and economic progress is the only thing that will save Frankford from the already rampant open air drug market and it’s clients. TW is doing a great job of helping to improve the Avenue and securing funding to get that job completed; the surrounding areas need to follow suit.

  7. Lorraine –

    The Northwood Civic Association “rejected a bid by Baptist Children’s Services, which wanted to care for 64 teenagers referred by the courts and social-service agencies in the old nursing home building.”

    Because they did oppose that in 2005, we now have Northwood Academy Charter School – which serves the whole community – not just a small group of troubled teenagers while some LARGE non-profit corporation that will be making a paycheck for their Board of Directors.

    On today’s issues, the actions of the Northwood Civic Association are indefensible on several levels and led to my departing as there was no stopping the “Northwood Illuminati” who are now in “control.”

    Just for starters:

    The Northwood Civic Association now operates outside of their mission statement as they violate Pennsylvania’s Non-Profit Law.

    There are several Non-profits businesses already operating inside Northwood Deed Restricted Area and they have done nothing to stop it.

    One of their own Board of Directors – operates an illegal boarding house inside Northwood – but they “look the other way.” They are using the Civic for personal gain.

    They pick & choose (discriminate & target) how they enforce the zoning code or how they choose to use the Deed Restriction, (as intimidation) while granting themselves exemptions to the same things they enforce upon others.

    As far as “The Bridge” is concerned – that section of Adams Avenue is outside of Northwood’s Boundaries and therefore they are not “authorized” by their Charter to take any vote upon it.

    On top of it all- John Taylor was behind House Bill 1954, which stripped standing from Civic Associations so that only “aggrieved” persons that suffered “detrimental harm” had standing to appeal ZBA decisions.

    The “bill prohibits taxpayers from having a say in a zoning issue if they live more than 500 feet from the property in question.”

    Since the Bill was and up-held by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, it is now the law.

    So based upon the laws now in effect, how can the Northwood Civic Association support or oppose the Adams Avenue project when not any one member lives within 500 feet of it? Perhaps that is a question for John Taylor.

    See: “Taylor: Bill won’t curtail zoning-issue rights

    The civic group believes an amendment to that bill prohibits taxpayers from having a say in a zoning issue if they live more than 500 feet from the property in question.”

    “Taylor doesn’t believe Northwood residents should be able to weigh in on sports stadiums being built in South Philadelphia.

    Taylor said Northwood Civic Association has a good track record in front of the ZBA, except for losing the fight against the COMHAR facility for mentally ill people, and he expects the success rate to continue. ‘We almost never lose,’ he said.”


Adopted October 19, 1976.  Effective February 15, 1978

    (Amended May 19, 1981)


    Section 1.  The name of the Association shall be Northwood
Civic Association.

Section 2.  The purpose of the Association shall be to promote
civic, social, and moral welfare of the community: to preserve and maintain the amenities of the community and to peaceably protest inharmonious land uses which tend to detract from and reduce property values in the community and adjoining areas.

    Section 3.  For the purposes of the Association, the boundaries of the community shall run along the East side of the Roosevelt Boulevard from the Southern line of Friends Hospital to Castor Avenue and Sanger Street; Sanger Street to Oxford Avenue; West side of Oxford Avenue to proximity of Leiper Street; proximity of Leiper Street to Orthodox Street; South side of Orthodox Street to Castor Avenue, Castor Avenue to Wyoming Avenue; Wyoming Avenue to Ramona Avenue; Ramona Avenue to Fishers Lane, Fishers Lane to the Southern line of Friends Hospital North to East side of Roosevelt Boulevard.


    How many members does the NCA have? Perhaps 30. So these thirty people speak for a whole community of thousands and do not even put out a news letter to inform the rest of the residents of how they are dismantling Northwood? That’s pure arrogance!

    I have stood silent and watched these Buffoons destroy this neighborhood long enough.

    If Northwood Civic Association’s President or any of the Board of Directors & Officers would like to discuss this further – or deny what I have now averred – they will not be discussing it with me.

    They can discuss it with the Attorney General, because that is where the complaint will be going.

  8. Brian Wisniewski, President of the Frankford Civic, raised some very serious concerns with regard to the Bridge re-locating here in Frankford. Brian wanted the people of Frankford to come out to the meeting in April and let their voices be heard regarding this issue. The fact that the Juniata Civic and the Northwood Civic came out and publicly announced it was in favor of the Bridge moving into Frankford and that they will write a letter of approval to the zoning commission – just two weeks before the Frankford Civic is holding their meeting, reeks of a political maneuver.

    I know all the local politicans want the Bridge in Frankford. Why?

    NCA Presidents Emeritus – thanks for your comments – always enlightening.

  9. Lorraine, this is not a new issue with The Bridge, it has been going on for months. Meetings have come and gone with no action and or discussion by Frankford. NW and Juniata are doing this the correct way; and if you were well informed as you say you are; you would know that Barry Howell said that if Frankford gave this a thumbs down then it’s a no go. The vote was whether or not to support The Bridge yes, but contingent upon Frankfords vote.

    As for President Emeritus; I believe I have read similar posts by you over and over and over and over and over again. As for one issue you brought up; send me an email about it because I wasn’t aware of that. I think I know what and who you are referring to though.

  10. Lorraine, what were the serious concerns raised by Brian? I’ve heard the Bridge reps answer all of the concerns over and over. In fact they even put them in writing.

  11. If your interested in what was said at the Frankford Civic meeting go on to YouTube and type: Frankford Civic the Bridge. Then listen to the video.

  12. Liz…I mean Lorraine; I saw the video of the Frankford meeting days ago and it was pathetic. I like Brian which is why I didn’t comment on the meeting but since you brought it up…. Much of what he said was inaccurate and he knows it which is why he can’t look people in the eye when he was talking. He was at presentations by the Bridge and knows that the facility is not a prison; he knows what their outpatient programs consist of…NO MEDS at all, not even aspirin. He knows all outpatient programs are by appointment only and there are no groups. He also knows that not all of the kids at the Bridge are there for drug and/or alcohol problems; some are merely habitual truants. Basically the info presented to people at the Frankford meeting was not representative of the ino provided to Brian by the Bridge. It’s obvious someone else is pulling strings on certain marionettes in Frankford and that’s too bad for Frankford. I did notice the redundant reference to the obvious and well known open air drug market that exists in Frankford; anyone doing anything about that?????? Hopefully for Frankford the work Tim is doing on parts of the Avenue will help reduce that activity; I’ll remain optimistic. In the meantime you should call Barry Howell and you will see who pulls his strings; since you seem to think he is politically influenced.

  13. You stated: I did notice the redundant reference to the obvious and well known open air drug market that exists in Frankford; anyone doing anything about that??????

    Well, we are trying to cut down on the drug dealers customers’ by keeping facilities like the Bridge out of Frankford!

    Don’t be so naive – these kids are not being court ordered to attend the Bridge because they are truant from school. A court order means: it’s either the Bridge or the Youth Study Center and they don’t send kids to the Youth Study Center because they cut school.

    I have nothing against the Bridge. The service they provide may help many people. I don’t believe Frankford needs the service they provide. We have enough organizations and facilities in Frankford that dwell on the negative aspect of human behavior. As for the property on Adams Ave. – I would rather see it stay just as it is now and hopefully, in the near future, some company or organization will find a positive use for the land.

  14. NW resident Says: “I did notice the redundant reference to the obvious and well known open air drug market that exists in Frankford; anyone doing anything about that??????”

    Yeah – Barry Howell may know something. So ask him how he made out with this:

    Northwood Civic will branch out to control gang activity … May 21, 2010

    “Barry Howell attended a meeting of the Concerned Citizens of Northwood at Simpson Playground last Tuesday.  Barry related that people attending that meeting spoke of being besieged by gang activity, bad section 8 tenants, parking issues and drugs in their back driveways.  Barry reiterated that the Northwood Civic is going to address these quality of life issues…”

  15. Lorraine If you want the true facts ,you can call me any time (215)533-6744.In the NCAPres. Emeritus Boo-Hoo. I’ll be looking forward to your call ThankYou Barry

  16. The NCA has not put out a new-letter in many years, and according to the Association’s by-laws it is the NCA’s secretary that is responsible for all the “Press Releases.”

    That being said – Post the “True Facts” right here where all the world can read them, otherwise you are just spreading propaganda & disinformation.

    Answer this Mr. Howell:

    1. Who or what authorized you to operate outside the legitimate purpose of the act of incorporation by voting upon and approving projects that are outside the boundaries of Northwood as defined in the Charter?

    2. Tell us how you or the organization has branched out to control gang activity as their has been no press releases since May 21, 2010.

    3. Answer how you and all the politicians (who’s arses you so enjoy kissing) will get around all the environmental hazards & dangers of the site which you (collectively) have pick out to place a juvenile prison facility & out patient clinic. Read:

    4. Since “You” are “The Press.” then the onus is on you to deliver the news to the public, so start telling the “Truth.”

    5. Don’t hold your breath on my calling you by the telephone – I have nothing private to relay to you.

    6. You Are the President of the NCA now, and you dropped the ball.


  17. Lorraine, Lorraine, Lorraine again you are mis-informed. Yes some kids are adjudicated for truancy, and yes some end up at The Bridge. As for keeping a place like The Bridge out of the neighborhood helping remove drug dealers; that’s laughable. Do you honestly believe a large % of the customers are from the city? You would be quite wrong. I know first hand that a large % of the frequent buyers are from Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties. All 3 counties offenders are not permitted at The Bridge because they only take Philadelphia residents. Point being, the problem exists in Frankford and Kensington so openly because there is no punishment and no enforcement of the drug laws in these areas. Residents fear for their lives if they interfere with this open and blatant violation of the law. Until residents take a stand against this activity it will only get worse, if that’s possible. The police will not clean up this mess, it’s up to residents taking back their neighborhood and it can be done. It has happened in numerous places throughout the country. You have a vigilant DA who promised to help enforce these types of quality of life issues and you all need to ask for his help. He’s been through Frankford along with numerous public officials trying to get the word out, and residents still don’t show up at meetings to get involved. As for being naive, I’ve lived 5 years of my life with people who could care less about the person standing next to them; even it was their mother. All they cared about was getting high and would do anything to get there; including murder. Did you know they have guys in prison that tell potential parolees exactly what to say to get of jail? They also tell them where to go to enjoy unabated drug use in unsupervised ‘recovery houses’; all you need is a relative with a Philly address and you can say you’re living there, or get a job in Philly. In Bucks County’s jail there is a ‘list’ of over 50 recovery houses that inmates get info on to get paroled there; they’re all in Frankford and Kensington.

    As for Pres Emeritus: the gang activity you mentioned was spearheaded fast and efficiently by the proper people; not a civics sole purpose. People from the civic did get involved on their own and the threat was removed. This kind of stuff was not highly publicized in order to protect residents identities and help avoid any retaliation. I guess it would have been better posting witnesses and compalintants names on the Frankford Gazette blog. Maybe next time law enforcement should send notices to gang members homes and let them know when the troops are ready to pounce on them. This would make for great message board material and headlines; ‘Police Task Force Gunned Down because Pres Emeritus likes full disclosure.’

  18. NW resident – I haven’t heard back from “The Press.”

    You are just attempting to promote damage control with all your double talk.

    The Civic Association is not a quasi-police force and not qualified to do police work. If you attended the PEDAC meetings – you would know that.

    The NCA has done it’s last dirty deed, as it was illegal (from the standpoint of being an organization) to take a vote to promote a rehab inside someone else’s neighborhood. You have violated your own Charter & Pennsylvania Law, but you ignore that “truth.”

    The NCA is a non-profit corporation and is to remain politically Neutral, but you have ignored that “truth.”

    The NCA is funded by donations which have been solicited from the Public by your organization – and therefore the Public is always entitled to full disclosure of all your actions & financial records, but you ignore that “truth.”

    There are several businesses, many of them are Non-profit businesses, operating out of homes they rented in Northwood’s Deed Restricted area – just for the purpose of operating their businesses, and nothing has been done about it, but you ignore that “truth.”

    The NCA performs selective zoning enforcements – targeting various individual residents, while sheltering and hiding one of your own board members who skirted the ZBA & runs an illegal, unlicensed boarding house in Northwood, but you ignore that “truth.”

    The mouth of the NCA has been running – waving the Deed Restriction (which is unenforceable by the Civic for lack of standing), but you ignore that “truth.”

    Those actions by the NCA are tantamount to intimidating the elderly who are housed with the VOA, and in doing so the Northwood Civic Association is Violating the Civil Rights Act and Fair Housing Act, but you ignore that “truth.”

    This has been settled long ago with COMHAR who operate a Group House on Oxford Avenue inside the Deed Restricted area, sued in federal court and got an injunction against the NCA, but you ignore that “truth.”

    The Hon. Maria Quiñones-Sanchez, Hon. Darryll Clarke, Rep. John Taylor, or Rep. Tony Peyton can ill afford to have their names associated with a Civil Rights Lawsuit by supporting the wants & desires of a bunch of uneducated egomaniacs who call themselves the Northwood Civic Association. If they did it would incriminate them too.

    The NCA’s Actions are disgraceful & shameful and as stated before – you will not be getting any phone calls from me.

    How long do you think people will go on ignoring the “truth” about the NCA?

    Tell the “Truth” and give one good reason why the NCA should be allowed to continue to operate and not be shut down by the State of Pennsylvania?

  19. One good reason the NCA exists today and continues to operate; easy answer: You are no longer the president.

  20. You are right that the NCA operates – But it does so by discriminatory practices and in Violation of it’s own Mission, Charter & Bylaws.

    But don’t change the subject. The NCA should be held accountable for it’s actions, and also for all their propaganda.

    Everyone knows the The NCA has been bougt by the Cancer Treatment Center. When they wanted to build, they gave the NCA a check. You took their money & cashed the check – before you voted. It looks like a bribe and it worked out very well for them.

    You have not disproved one Fact.

    You have not answered one question.

    The question will be answer in due time.

    In due time we’ll will see what local politician is behind the project on Adams Avenue and who has taken a pay off.

    Stop trying change the subject.

  21. Cancer Treatment Centers has done nothing but improve the landscape of that eyesore of a cemetery that previous presidents were unable to accomplish. As for buying the civic; not even close. NCA has not agreed with CTCA on many issues and has been publicly outspoken about those things. As for discriminatory practices, NCA has a very diversified board and membership and everyone gets to speak and voice their opinion. There are no dictators in the NCA presently, not like the past. You should really expel your energy and knowledge to make improvements to this neighborhood and city. As for politicians having a hand in the Adams Avenue project; I’ve been to every meeting public and private with The Bridge. Not once was a politician and/or politicians representative present at any private closed door meeting. It seems to bother you that people can get issues resolved without making a spectacle of themselves and having to succumb to shady backdoor deals. That’s a shame.

  22. The Onus is on the NCA to prove their honesty & credibility and disprove the “Facts.”

    Here is the timeline proving the the NCA has no credibility as they took a bribe:

    August 19, 2008 – Excerpt: Cancer Treatment Centers of America has donated $2,500 to the Northwood Civic Association. “with no strings attached.”

    December 2008 – Shortly after the “donation” from CTCA, Mr. Barry Howell of Northwood Civic Association approved their takeover of the Cemetery without any vote from the membership:

    It was time for the “Northwood Illuminate” to foist another ex-post facto shenanigan onto the membership and take a vote at the May 2009 meeting, even though it was already a done deal. Telling the membership about the money helped to get the vote they wanted.

    Signing of Community Benefits Agreement

    PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 20, 2009) – It is now official. The two community associations – Northwood Civic and Northwood Concerned Citizens – and their neighbor, Cancer Treatment Centers of America Eastern Regional Medical Center, have agreed to a wide-ranging, comprehensive Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that includes local employment, small business, and new home-buyer incentives…

    I have no clue if there was any approval from membership to do this, as it was not in the news papers or any news-letter from the NCA, but Mr. Barry Howell testified in front of City Council to change the Zoning of the Cemetery to an Industrial Development District: June 18, 2009

    Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery,” comprising approximately 45.8 acres of … and Expansion Area to an Institutional Development District under the …

    It is documented that for the last two years that Mr. Howell has openly avowed at the Frankford Civic Meetings – pledging that the NCA would do all the could to help them stop drug Rehabs in the area. It’s all over You-Tube.

    What happened? Where is the credibility? Where is the loyalty?

    Here it is – with the politicians:

    Now get back to work attempting to divert the attention away from the now corrupt NCA.

  23. I always give people the benefit of the doubt and don’t listen to other peoples opinions about someones character; but the masses are correct in your case. Spitefulness and jealousy have overtaken ones mind to the point that everything another does is a conspiracy to achieve personal gain. Get a new hobby because no one is listening and saying, ‘ah ha, he’s on to something here’. Everyone’s just laughing to the point where they’re starting to feel sorry for you. As for donations to the civic the CTCA made the smallest monetary donation of all the businesses that donated to the civic in the last 2 years. The financial records are and have been made public to the groups members as well as all donations and their sources. Please list your achievements as President.

  24. This thread is not about me, or what I achieved or did not achieve years ago.

    Because I was the president and have exposed the NCA’s illegal actions – you are trying to change the facts by changing the subject. Stay on point.

    It is about the vote taken at the NCA meeting. It was illegal & it was wrong, just like many other nefarious schemes conjured & promoted by a small core group of Directors.

    I expected honesty & accountability from the NCA and I am still waiting.

    The CTCA bribed the NCA. Your organization is corrupt organization. The records or lack there-of will prove it.

    I would not be able to say these things, if they were not true.

    The reason the NCA does not file a case against me for liable & slander is because they would be putting themselves on trial.

    They could not afford that.

    Your wrong – People are listening. Your listening, and here is someone that will listen:

    [PDF] handbook for charity nonprofit – Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General … Compliance with Pennsylvania law.

    Stop your double talk and educate yourselves by reading it.

    You must think that running a Civic is a game.

    It’s not.

  25. You really are full of yourself, it’s amazing. First off the word is LIBEL, not LIABLE. Secondly, the NCA does not file a case against against you because you really don’t matter and they aren’t in the business of wasting time and resources on sour grapes. You have become nothing more than a nuisance who accomplishes nothing. Your sole purpose is to create a forum for you to sit at home and giggle at your ramblings. You should put as much effort into doing something positive for the neighborhood and/or city; maybe then you will be taken seriously. Seacrest OUT!

  26. Wow, this has to be a record – 25 responses (mine will be the 26th) to the Northwood Civic Association Meeting. I hope this dialogue has stirred up interest with the people of Frankford resulting in a huge turn-out at the next Frankford Civic Meeting in April.

  27. When is the next meeting? I’ve lived in Northwood for three years now and its never clearly advertised. Perhaps when my husband and I moved in, someone from the association might have let us know about meeting times/places/ways to get involved. I’m sure if more people knew, more people would attend.

  28. Dapo: The next meeting of the N.W.C. is Tuesday April 19 TH. at 7:00 P.M. Location ST James Lutheran Church.Castor and Pratt Sts. Thank You Barry

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