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The Frankford Pause is Moving Ahead

Yesterday afternoon, the Frankford CDC officially broke ground on the first phase of the much-anticipated Frankford Pause Park at 4671-73 Paul Street near SEPTA’s Arrott Transportation Center and next door to the Frankford CDC’s new offices at the Daral Building.

This first phase of the park includes bright pink artificial turf stripes on the ground and on the surrounding walls to illustrate the sound of the passing elevated Market-Frankford Line; planting beds; planter-benches; trees; and a stage area. During the first phase, the Frankford CDC will pilot different types of community programming and observe how the space is used and how people interact with the space, informing adjustments to the later phases and final design.

Further, this phase will allow the space to be put to active use while additional funds are raised for the full, final buildout of the park. Completion of the first phase is anticipated to finish by the end of October. Community Planting Days will be held on Friday, October 27th, and Saturday, October 28th, from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. The Frankford Garden Club will be supervising the planting and hosting workshops throughout the planting days.

The Frankford Pause Park was conceptualized through a community design process with the Community Design Collaborative in 2014 as part of the Frankford CDC and Philadelphia City Planning Commission’s Destination Frankford initiative. LOCUS Partners has prepared full construction drawings for the final buildout. Alexa Bosse of Hinge Collective, who worked on the initial conceptual design, designed the pilot phase which is currently under construction.

Funding for this phase of Frankford Pause Park comes from ArtPlace America and the Frankford CDC. Future phases have funding commitments from Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, the Philadelphia Department of Commerce, and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

(left to right): Ileana Garcia (Frankford CDC), Rafael Alvarez (Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez), Larissa Klevan (Philadelphia City Planning Commission), Ellie Devyatkin (Frankford CDC), State Representative Jason Dawkins, Kimberly Washington (Frankford CDC), Ian Litwin (Philadelphia City Planning Commission), Alexa Bosse (Hinge Collective), Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, Christine DeJesus (Frankford CDC), Charlie Bugg (State Representative Jason Dawkins).

Present at the groundbreaking were Frankford CDC Executive Director Kimberly Washington, City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, State Representative Jason Dawkins, City Planners Larissa Klevan and Ian Litwin, Landscape Architect Alexa Bosse, contractor Ruban Villatoro, and staff from the offices of Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez, State Representative Dawkins, and the Frankford CDC.

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Art Gallery Coming to Frankford Avenue

 With thanks to Ian Litwin, of the City Planning Commission, the Destination Frankford Gallery will be opening this month on Paul Street right off Frankford Avenue in what was formerly the Daral store.  It took a lot of money to get it ready but now interior work has been essentially completed and final inspections are scheduled and exterior signage will be going up shortly.

It will be another step in the process of neighborhood revitalization in Frankford. The gallery will host RECLAIM, REDISCOVER, REANIMATE Saturdays from April 19 – July 26 from Noon to 5:00 PM.  Local artists will exhibit their work and the community will gain an opportunity to view contemporary art.

Three separate exhibitions will each focus on one part of the theme. “Reclaim” will include twenty-one members of Philadelphia’s Dumpster Divers, “Rediscover” will involve seven local photographers, and “Reanimate” will present sculptures from members of Philadelphia Sculptors. Each show will have its own reception that will spill over into the street and the pocket park next door. The public is invited to listen to live music, enjoy the offerings of food trucks, and peruse a local crafts market.

RECLAIM | Dumpster Divers

Saturdays, April 19 – May 17, 2014

Philadelphia’s Dumpster Divers are well known for their commitment to making art from what others would perceive as junk. Seeing the possibilities in trash and other under-utilized resources, they bring a new awareness to the concept of “upcycling” as they transform discarded materials into creative new art forms.

REDISCOVER | Photography

Saturdays, May 24 – June 21, 2014

Seven local photographers will use their cameras to explore Philadelphia’s urban terrain, concentrating on less visited locations and new perspectives of familiar imagery.  Using personal viewpoints, they draw attention to small moments, ambiguous settings, and underlying beauty that might be overlooked by the casual viewer.

REANIMATE | Philadelphia Sculptors

Saturdays, June 28 – July 26, 2014

Members of Philadelphia Sculptors will address the concept of bringing new life back to a place, person, or community. Work ranges from the figurative to the abstract, with artists employing techniques and materials that may reference the past as they create work of the present.

Information about the opening block party on April 19th will be posted next week.

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Destination Frankford

Destination Frankford, all aboard.DF Logo_RGB-white

It all started with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission (PCPC).  I attended all of the meetings last year during the planning process for the Lower Northeast District Plan, a component of Philadelphia2035.  The first thing I noticed was that Ian Litwin, the head planner, was actually saying good things about Frankford.  The emphasis was on the strengths of the community and seeing Frankford through new eyes gave me hope that something might come of it.

After the plan was adopted, an application was made to Artplace for a grant to begin implementing some of the concepts.   The grant came through and we are now about to see some results.  Destination Frankford will create a vibrant public space in Womrath Park, artfully designed signage and street furniture, a storefront dedicated to local artists, and an arts-focused marketing campaign.

The project will increase exposure to Frankford’s growing arts scene, add vibrancy to Frankford’s commercial corridor, and attract new artists, businesses, and residents to Frankford.

It sound ambitious and it is but remarkably it is a reality.  We are proud to be partners in this project and will be working on stories that highlight the arts, artists and artisans in Frankford.

You can read all about it on the Destination Frankford web site at this link.


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Big Money and Big Change Coming to Frankford

From our partners at Flying Kite written by Greg Meckstroth:

The Lower Northeast District Plan was officially adopted by the Planning Commission last fall, and its designers are now turning their attention towards implementing its ideas. Working with the Mayor’s Office of Grants, the Commission has developed a series of partnerships to secure funding — they recently earned over $600,000 from federal agencies and private foundations.

“The Plan has been a guide for everything we do,” explains Ian Litwin with the Planning Commission. “We are building on the strengths that Frankford already has which can catalyze future development.”

The grants were awarded for three key initiatives:

– A $75,000 grant from the William Penn Foundation and the Parks and Recreation Department will fund study of the options to return Frankford Creek to its natural state, connecting Frankford to the Delaware River and East Coast Greenway. A recommended trail alignment and suggested next steps will come from the study, which is already underway.

– A $200,000 EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grant will fund a planning study and develop reuse alternatives for three catalyst industrial sites in Frankford and Bridesburg along the Frankford Creek. The plan will lead to recommended site designs and create the possibilities for myriad implementation grants.

– A $335,150 grant from ArtPlace America will support Destination Frankford, an initiative to improve Frankford’s commercial corridor through artfully designed signage and street furniture; a Globe DyeWorks storefront for local artists; and an arts-focused marketing campaign and website. The initiative will also create art installations in Womrath Park. Of 1,200 submissions across the country, Destination Frankford was one of 40 to receive grants. The initiative will kick-off on June 1.

Fine the entire story at this link


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Philadelphia2035 Community Meeting Number 1

The first community meeting of the Philadelphia2035 Lower Northeast planning and zoning process was held on April 4th at Friends Hospital.  The Lower Northeast district encompasses parts of Frankford, Northwood, Summerdale, Oxford Circle-Castor Gardens and Lawncrest.  Representatives from those neighborhoods serve on a steering committee and have already been meeting.  The meeting we attended is to get community input from residents into the planning process.  From the Philadelphia2035 web site are the key issues they have identified for the Lower Northeast:

Key Issues:

Roosevelt Boulevard and Oxford Circle are defining features of the Lower Northeast.  The 12-lane Boulevard generates important issues: traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and future transit options. Auto-oriented commercial uses can be made into pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use nodes. Some neighborhoods are changing due to rapid property turnover and an influx of new families; this reflects the affordability and desirability of the housing stock. The Frankford community needs commercial corridor management, redevelopment, adaptive reuse of vacant industrial buildings, infill development and greater focus on management of recovery and group homes. Conversion of single-family homeowner properties to multi-family rental properties is an issue. Like the Pennypack and Wissahickon Creeks, Tacony/Frankford Creek should have a greenway along its entire length.

There was a good sized crowd as you can see from the slide show below.  The crowd was divided up into separate tables but were asked to do the same thing on a large map:  identify present and future issues.    The result was a map colored with various codes that will go back with the planners who will analyze what we thought.  At our table the Margaret-Orthodox el stop was identified as having potential for a major redo along the lines of the Transit Oriented Development plan.  The commercial corridor and industrial use areas are clearly in need of a new vision.There were numerous other items and those results may be displayed on the Philadelphia2035 web site at some time in the future.

The next community meeting is tentatively scheduled for sometime in June when we will get an update on the process.