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The Bridge Scales Back Expansion Plans


Michael Ogden

The Northwood Civic Association met on March 15th where Michael Ogden, Program Director of The Bridge, talked about the expansion plans and what precipitated the need.  The Villa in Ambler runs a residential facility for children and adolescents who have been court ordered placement outside their natural home.  They are not adjudicated by the court but are victims of circumstances that require their removal.  The Villa is losing its home and those kids will need a place to go and The Bridge would like to provide that service.

The original plan was to build extra space on the property and increase the capacity by almost 100% (from 40 to 78) but when word of community opposition came out, the plan was redone and now they want to use the existing certified capacity of the facility which is 51 residents, to meet the current need.

The operating capacity is currently 40 due to an agreement made with the community when they first asked zoning approval for the facility.

At present The Bridge serves 40 adjudicated boys aged 14 to 18.  The plan calls for a mix of 27 adjudicated and 24 non adjudicated.  The footprint of the building would not change.  Interior renovations would meet the need of the facility.

At some point in the future The Bridge would like to revisit the expansion issue.  Ogden was clear in his answers to residents and the meeting.  Residents seemed satisfied with his responses and overall positive to The Bridge.  Except for the occassional complaint about the trash accumulation on the Adams Avenue area, no one had anything negative to say about the facility.

Other news at the meeting:

If you have voted at St. James Lutheran Church at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street, your polling place will not be String Theory School (Edmunds) at 1197 Haworth Street.

Work on Castor Avenue speed control will begin shortly.  Study is being done on the situation at Adams and Adams and Ramona.

Joe Hohenstein representing Frankford Friends School thanked the Civic for its donation for the people who were forced to relocate due to the fire on Griscom.  He said the funds are still being dispensed.

Work is continuing on the abandoned houses in Northwood.

The next meeting of the Northwood Civic Association will be on April 18th at 7 PM at St. James Lutheran Church.