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Northwood Civic Association Meeting

Chris Wink, NEastPhilly got his report out so fast on the meeting last week that it gave me time to digest to event.  You can see NEastPhilly coverage here which includes video.   There most significant points raised at the meeting to me were:

  • The old Frankford Y continues to deteriorate and people who live in that area say it is attracting some bad activity.  Barry Howell (president of the Northwood Civic) noted that no progress is being made at turning it into something positive for the community.  That is what we all would like.  Then he went on to say that if something doesn’t happen he (the Northwood Civic) will be contacting the political representatives to demolish it.  With the threat of demolition, it might force those with the power to do something to actually do something.
  • Tracy O’Drain of the Frankford CDC was present and spoke about their revitalization efforts on the 4600 block of Frankford Avenue.  Barry praised their efforts in that regard and said that revitalization of Frankford Avenue is important to Northwood.
  • Barry announced that next month nominations for office in the Northwood Civic will be conducted with elections at the November meeting.  He said that there is a need for some new people to step up and take leadership positions.  The present leadership, including himself, would like to take a break.

Next meeting of the Northwood Civic Association meeting will be on Tuesday, October 18th.

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Northwood Civic Meeting

Jorge Santana, Rep. Tony Payton's Chief of Staff

There were about 30 people last night at the Northwood Civic, which had been rescheduled to avoid next weeks election day.  The focus was on quality of life issues as follows:

  • The Civic is going back to court on the issue of enforcement against 950 Fillmore Street and the addition to the home at that location.
  • Residents of the 1100 block of Herbert Street have complained about one occupant of that block operating a business selling automobiles.  There are as many as 11 cars parked on the street.  The owner is moving tags from one to the other to avoid detection.
  • Illegal day cares continue to be a problem.  Some are offering care for as many as twelve children around the clock.  There are safety as well as traffic and noise issues.
  • Barry noted that the Frankford Civic voted to not support the zoning application of the Bridge to move onto the property at Adams Avenue.   Northwood will maintain its support for the move.
  • They will continue to work on the VOA group home by talking with the owners.
  • Members voted to approve attorney’s fees for the Bridge zoning hearing and the case for 950 Fillmore Street.
  • The Civic is looking to apply for a grant from the Preservation Alliance for demolition of the garages located Rutland and Fillmore Streets.  There were severely damaged in a fire.  Looking to make improvements to the nearby tennis courts at the other end of the block at Rutland and Harrison Streets.
  • Barry will be meeting with the Principal of Frankford High School today to discuss the problem with students roaming through the neighborhood and getting into trouble.  He is looking to having a similar discussion with the Principal of Emunds in the future.

Jorge Santana, Tony Payton’s Chief of Staff, announced that he will be leaving his position with Tony at the end of the week.   Jorge has been at almost every Northwood meeting and Barry noted that he has been invaluable to the Civic with his assistance in every way possible.

The next Northwood Civic meeting is scheduled for June 21st at 7PM.


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Northwood Gives the Bridge the OK

At the Northwood Civic meeting on Tuesday, April 20, president Barry Howell noted that both the Northwood Civic Association and the Juniata Civic Association have signed off on the community agreement with the Bridge.  That agreement will be submitted to the zoning board and become part of the public record.  Frankford Civic will make a decision at its meeting on May5th.

Northwood Academy Charter school has obtained zoning approval for construction of a new additional building on the existing property on Castor Avenue.

Tony Payton announced that there has been some progress in finding a new use for the Frankford Y building and further news will be released when the deal has been finalized.

Joanne Ryles, representing the Concerned Citizens of Northwood addressed the group with an appeal for support.  They meet the second Thursday of each month at Simpson Playground.  Barry said that Northwood will take a more active role in working with the group because of the proximity to Northwood.  Problems spill over.

The VOA house issue is being re-evaluated based on its current use as a residence.  The end strategy is to bring the use of the property into compliance with the deed restriction.

Next month’s meeting will be moved to May 10th due to election day.  Darrell Clarke will be at the meeting.



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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.

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Frankford Civic Meeting

The Frankford  Civic Association meeting, which had been delayed by inclement weather, was held last Thursday night at Aria Health.  There was a fairly good crowd, with some new faces, considering the 25 degree temperature outside.

First off was Nick Esposito, project manager for Portfolio Associates who will be making a presentation on the proposed improvements to Womrath Park in regard

Nick Esposito

to storm water management.  We posted information about the upcoming meeting last week.  You can read that post here.

Toby Biddle

Next, Toby Biddle spoke seeking support for a zoning variance for the legalization of the conversion of 1837 Harrison Street to a duplex.  He is a real estate investor who bought the property at sheriff sale and then found out it had been illegally converted from a single family home.  The civic raised several questions about his intended use of the property to determine whether Mr. Biddle was looking toward making it a rooming house.  Biddle says he intends to manage the property as a duplex and nothing more.

The most significant discussion of the night centered around the long rumored move by the Bridge into Frankford.  Barry Howell, President of the Northwood Civic Association spoke about discussion they have had with the management of the Bridge.  Also attending was Kate Clarke, president of the Juniata Park Civic Association.

1100 block of Adams Avenue at Unity

The Bridge is being forced to move from their present Fox Chase location by the owners of the property who have other needs for it.  The owners of the vacant land in the 1100 block of Adams Avenue (near Unity and Adams) are looking to develop the land which is zoned industrial.  The Bridge is seeking support from the community to move into a new building to be built on that site.

The discussion raised these issues:

  • The Bridge offers a good quality program
  • It is not a methadone treatment program
  • The community would like to see a better use for the property
  • Once the Bridge moves in they may change the services that are offered
  • What is they become another drug treatment facility
  • The community can get provisos as part of the approval process
  • Once they are in the community will have no control over what they do
  • Nobody will want to develop new businesses near the facility
  • NET on Bridge Street is looking for a new location so it could be worse
  • Doesn’t Frankford have enough of these services, why not some other location

There will be a presentation with full details of the Bridge proposal at the Northwood Civic Association meeting on Tuesday, February 15th.  The next meeting of the Frankford Civic will be on March 3rd.