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Northwood Civic Scores a Big Win Against Blight

Congratulations to Joe Krause and the Northwood Civic Association on their big victory over EverBank of Jacksonville, Florida, the owner of 1301 Wakeling Street.  At a court hearing on October 19th, Scioli Turco was appointed conservator of the property. Immediate improvements will begin to be made to the outside of the property and the home will be repaired inside and out to be marketed for sale as a single family home in the coming months.

Scioli Turco is a community and neighborhood development organization who works on behalf of neighborhoods to take over blighted properties and return them to the market when the owners cannot or will not do so.

This case goes back to April 16th, 2016 when the first hearing was held and the judge ordered the owner to do the repairs and get the house on the market for sale by June 1st.  They did not comply but managed to forestall the conservatorship for almost a year and a half.

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Northwood Civic Meeting for December Cancelled

There will be no meeting of the Northwood Civic Association on December 16th, 2014. My decision to have a meeting wasn’t very popular, so we will have our next meeting on January 20th, 2015.

I received a letter from a neighbor on the 1200 block of Haworth Street requesting help with some things that concern them. If anyone knows who sent it, please tell them to call me or contact me. They left no name, address, or phone number, so it will be difficult for me to assist them in any way.

I can be contacted through Facebook or my email

Joe Krause
President, Northwood Civic Association
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No Labor Day Holiday for Northwood This Year

Saturday of the Labor Day weekend and I found there hearty souls hard at work making long needed improvements to Northwood Park. The Northwood Civic Association had approved funding to rehab the benches in the park but it took these folks to actually go out, get the materials and then get the job done.  It was an all day and when I stopped by at 5PM work was still going on.

Thanks to Franklin Daniel, Dave Howarth, John Klak, Joe Krause. Josetta Krause, Ed Martin and Sonya Martin for doing what needed to be done.

david howarth

Dave Howarth

krause and company

Joe Krause, Ed Martin, Franklin Daniel and John Klak

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Focus on Frankford: Joe Krause

Five years ago Joe Krause was looking for a good house in a good neighborhood.  Philadelphia has a lot of those but he and his wife wanted some place that would give them both of those things without breaking the bank.

He had been through Northwood before and put it on his list of places to check out.  It took some time but eventually they settled into a home on Ramona Avenue.

In no time at all he met Debbie Klak, his next door neighbor.  He mentioned that he had been active in the civic association and town watch in the neighborhood where he grew up and she told him to check out the Northwood Civic Association meeting.

Joe and Josetta

Joe and Josetta

He attended the meeting in the first month after moving into Northwood and met Barry Howell and within a few months he was on the board of directors.  Now, five years later he is the president.

Being President of Northwood Civic is a huge investment in time but he says it is an investment in the future of the neighborhood.  With help from family and friends to watch his daughter Josetta when necessary, he makes time.

Josetta has been to more Northwood Civic meetings than most of the members and one of my fondest memories of Krause is of him trying to wrangle her as he spoke at a meeting when she was barely walking.  He seems always patient which is a trait that comes in handy now that he heads the Civic Association.

Krause is focused on not only the civic but also on his work with Frank Bennett at the newly resurrected Northwood Frankford Y at Orthodox and Leiper Streets.  They are working to revive the neighborhood icon.

In addition he is very much interested in improving Northwood Park which is on Foulkrod Street between Castor and Northwood Street.  The park is underutilized and yet could really be developed into a significant neighborhood asset.

With proper development that park could have something for all ages: nice tennis courts, a walking trail, benches for the seniors, tables for chess.  However it all starts with neighborhood involvement.

The neighbors have to come out and show and interest and get involved similar to what is going on up at Overington Park and over in East Frankford with Wilmot Park .

Naturally the Civic will continue to defend the Northwood Deed Restriction.  He finds that some of the new neighbors may not realize the value that the deed restriction provides them and the civic is trying to spread the word that it is a valuable asset to the community in maintain home values.

He sees Northwood going in a positive direction.  New business development over in the direction of the Cancer Treatment Center on Wyoming Avenue will create increased demand for nearby housing and Northwood is well positioned to take advantage of the demand.  Historically, Northwood is a neighborhood where people take care of their properties.  That was one of the reasons he moved into the neighborhood.  It is a neighborhood that, even today, holds its value.

For Joe Krause, it was the right choice.


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Residents Fed Up with condition of Northwood Park

Residents on the 900 block of Harrison Street say they are fed up with what they consider a lack of maintenance of Northwood Park by the city. Their chief complaints center around the large branches that have been cut down but not removed from the park, large underbrush that is building up along the sides of the old railroad viaduct cutting through the park and the burned down garage that is facing Rutland Street seemingly abandoned. On Veterans Day, I met Larry Norton, a 9 year resident of Northwood who lives across the street from the park, as he talked about Northwood Park’s role in the neighborhood and how’s it’s neglect threatens the area’s stability.

residents standing in front of overgrowth

Larry considers the park being across the street from him a huge asset.  “It’s like being out in the country, you don’t get this everywhere else in Philadelphia” he says.  He fears that further neglect will begin damaging his neighborhood.

The sidewalk across the street from the park presents a much prettier picture, with residents diligently keeping up on their properties.  And that’s one of Larry’s complaints.  There are people here using the park and wanting it in the best condition possible.  Larry says he has complained repeatedly to the city about the underbrush that is building up along the sides of the old railroad viaduct that runs through park.  His frustration has grown as he’s called 311 numerous times and has been given confirmation numbers to track the issue but has never received any followups.  Larry beleives that the underbrush not being cleared out is hurting the residents enjoyment of the park.  He says it’s become a haven for those seeking to do drugs and drink out of view, and that, in turn, keeps residents from using the area.

He notes that he’s seen the city send three workmen to empty the trash can in the tennis court but no one has showed up to remove any overgrowth that has accumulated over the years.  He doesn’t think it’s a hard job, “maybe twice a year” they could come out.

Larry points to the tennis courts that sit on the southeast corner of the park and wonders why they can’t have the tennis nets all the time like the courts on City Line and up on Cottman Ave.  He says that the tennis camps bring their own and take them down when they’re done.  He recalls that at one time they left the nets up but the skate boarders took them down and put them in the corner.  Then they one day they just disappeared entirely.  Larry believes that leaving them up would encourage more tennis players to use the park and help spiral productive uses in general.

Tom McHugh, a 28 year resident across the street, says the park is in the worst condition he’s ever seen.  He says sees kids playing in the burned out remains of the garages at the edge of the park on Northwood Street weekly.  It’s only a matter of time before it gets set on fire again.

Joe Krause, the Northwood Civic president, notes that the abandoned building is another problem entirely.  “With that you can’t just go demolish it.  It’s still private property, we know who owns it and where they’re at, but getting them to do anything about it is another story.”

Joe also notes that the city rarely takes any action it’s own.  You really need a community group to start handling the project from which the area’s politicians can jump in and support, as is the case with the wildly successful Friends of Overington Park.

The residents are hoping that spotlighting the condition will highlight the issue and hopefully create lasting change.  The notice for the upcoming Northwood Civic meeting shows the park on the agenda for this Tuesday.  Interested parties are encouraged to attend.