There is some cleaning up going on at the old Y building this week.
Last night’s Northwood Civic Association meeting was a well attended one, by my count upwards of 30 people were there. Among other business, two motions were passed unanimously allowing the civic to file lawsuits. A suit in orphan’s court will be filed against the New Frankford Community Y to force them to open up their finances. Civic president Barry Howell said that on several occasions the NFCY director Terry Toben has declined to explain where the money for the Y has been going for the last ten years. George Santana, Tony Payton’s chief of staff, expressed frustration at not knowing who was on the board of directors, and said they may find very interesting things should the books be opened up. There’s been a dispute over the possible sale of the Y to private investors with the the civic concerned it might be turned into a disco or or club. The civic is very interested in keeping the property maintained as a community center and expressed frustration that several church groups have shown interest in the past without any follow through.
Another motion was carried allowing the civic to move forward with a suit in common pleas court against Volunteers of America for opening up a group rehab in a house at 4871 Roosevelt Blvd, inside Northwood’s deed restricted land. “I don’t care what they call it” Howell said, “it’s a halfway house to me.” He vowed to fight, saying that VOA has stopped any discussion with the civic. Tony Payton was there and expressed strong support for the civic’s work to fight the incroachment. Howell said Payton “really stepped up to the plate.”
Representatives from Juniata and Frankford civic associations were also at the meeting to show support for the halfway house/rehab situation that is affecting Frankford, Juniata and Northwood. Howell said Northwood has laid back for years and it’s time to step up and take action. He looked forward to a joint initiative between the three neighborhoods to engage local government to get their voices heard. He spoke of petitions, and bussing people down to city hall to protest. “Any politician that doesn’t work with us, we’ll work to remove them,” Howell said.
Other items included:
- A petition was circulated in favor of traffic lights at Horrocks and Oxford, Howell says there were four accidents in the last year and possibly one fatality
- The war monument plaque at Frankford Field at Large and Oxford fell down last Sunday. A representative from the school board came and picked it up to make sure it wasn’t stolen. Howell said they need to stay on top of them to make sure it’s put back up and not forgotten about in a closet for the next 50 years. Questions were raised as to what organization actually owned it.
- Jason Dawkins from Counselwoman Sanchez’ office noted there is going to be a meeting for the city’s small parks initiative(parks without buildings), at the Second Baptist Church at 1801 Meadow St on February 22nd at 6pm. They’re looking for volunteers to help clean up the city’s small parks, including Wilmot and Overington Parks for the mayor’s Park Cleanup Day
- Tony Payton was there looking for any residents in his district that would sign his petition to get on this May’s ballot.
- A seargent with the 15th district talked about the new PSA(police service areas)
- At the end of the meeting lurched into a debacle centered on whether it’s appropriate to save your parking space in a snowstorm. The police at the meeting affirmed that it is against ordinance to save parking spaces, but you may have neighbor issues if you take their space
- A census representative spoke about how important it is that Frankford’s residents are counted in the upcoming census. He spoke about the many federally funded things that are allocated based on population including education and health care and said that for every person not counted in Philadelphia, the city looses out on something around 4000 dollars. He said that community block grants are given out based on population which means the money given to our CDC is at stake.
- The zoning issue at 950 Fillmore St will be held over to another time
The Frankford Civic meeting held tonight, was very well attended with about 30 people in the room.
There will be a SEPTA meeting at the Frankford Group Ministry building (4620 Griscom Street) on December 8th, to inform the community about the 7.5 million dollar rehabilitation of the Margaret-Orthodox El stop. It was the first el stop rebuilt back in the 80’s and now they need to do it over again. This time maybe it will be the right way. See the community calendar for the details.
Rep. Payton has partnered with the Energy Coordinating Agency to offer a Weatherization Workshop in Frankford. Weatherizing your home can reduce your heating bill dramatically, and provides a safer, warmer home for your family. The Energy Coordinating Agency will show you how you can weatherize your home for little to no money. They will also discuss assistance programs from the government that help pay for the cost of weatherizing your home. See the community calendar for the details. Please Call State Representative Tony Payton Jr’s Office at 215-744-7901 or email Simone Woods at firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
Zoning hearing at the ZBA for the conversion of 1522 and 1524 Church Street to multi family housing. The community opposes the conversion and all concerned residents should attend the hearing to make sure the ZBA understands our position.
A contractor who owns the lot at 4205-07 Adams Avenue is seeking support for a zoning change to build a garage to store his equipment. He came along with his architect to display his proposal. He was advised to solicit support from the immediate neighbors adjacent to his property and to begin the application process.
It was anticipated that Anthony Bannister would appear to explain his group’s plan to purchase the now closed New Frankford Community Y property. They have been in discussion with Senator Payton’s office as well as Councilperson Quinones Sanchez office. No one from the group attended the meeting. Reps from Sanchez and Payton’s office both said in the course of their meetings they had raised questions about the business plan and funding for the project. In addition,there is the issue of the sale of a non profit entity to a “for profit” corporation. Barry Howell, president of the Northwood Civic was present and said that the Northwood Civic’s position at this point is to emphatically oppose the deal.
Good news to report. Somehow the long unmoving vehicle on Ruan Street that was discussed at last month’s meeting has been eliminated. We’re not sure who deserves the credit for doing the right thing.
Next Frankford Civic meeting is January 7th. Be sure all the details I forgot to report on NEastPhilly.com.
I took some time to digest the Northwood Civic meeting of last Tuesday. As has been reported in NEastPhilly.com by Chris Wink, Anthony Bannister made his case for the group who wants to buy the former New Frankford Community Y property. They intend to operate it as a for profit enterprise.
Also discussed was the Civic’s plan to file a class action law suit against property owner’s within the Northwood deed restricted area who are renting their properties. Barry Howell spoke about the necessity of enforcing the deed restriction. This will not be something that can be done in a short time frame. In order for this to work, they must first establish who is violating the deed restriction. That research will take some time. Then an attorney must take on the case. Those are hurdles that have to be overcome.
Barry also addressed the issue of absentee owners of non deed restricted properties and the problems that some of them are causing the residents. He made it clear that those issues are going to be addressed as well. Again that will not be an easy fight but they are going to take it on.
I have since talked to a few people who attended the meeting and they say they have a degree of optimism. Well, I kind of go along with that and it has taken me a few days to figure out why. It’s been a long time since I heard somebody say they were going to do something. Bannister says they have a vision and they are going to get it done. Howell says its not going to be easy but we are going to get it done.
Well maybe it won’t be that easy, but I’m tired of hearing people tell me what the can’t do and why. Let’s hear it for the doers. Let’s support Northwood Civic by standing behind them in what they are trying to do.
No I don’t live in Northwood but what is good for Northwood is good for Frankford as a whole.
The Northeast Times editorial last week came to the defense of the New Frankford Community Y while insulting the Frankford Community.
Say what you want about Frankford – it’s no longer the quaint neighborhood of historic homes, it’s too dangerous to visit day or night, it’s the murder capital of Northeast Philadelphia, etc. – but one thing it had (until last week) that most Northeast neighborhoods don’t have was its very own community center.
Thanks for the help Times but with friends like you, who needs enemies. Now maybe you should do some research before you write. The crime rate is going down in Frankford. You would know that if you read the crime reports you publish every other week.
The Times has a history of printing just about any stupid editorial to incite irate letter writers to give them some cheap content. Saves the cost of paying the reporters to fill the newspaper. So I am not going to honor their ignorance with a letter to their editor.