Upper Holmesburg not moved by playground proposal

The Up­per Holmes­burg com­munity had a chance to get tens of thou­sands of dol­lars for the con­struc­tion of new play­ground equip­ment on an open patch of city park ground at Frank­ford Av­en­ue and Pennypack Street.

All it had to do was raise as little as $8,500 in seed money — and deal with a po­ten­tial in­flux of play­ful chil­dren.

But neigh­bor­hood res­id­ents chose to pass on the deal dur­ing the June 16 meet­ing of the Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation.

A couple of folks said they’d prefer that the site re­main empty, save for some well-worn grass. Oth­er meet­ing-go­ers re­mained si­lent on the is­sue in ap­par­ent in­dif­fer­ence, leav­ing UHCA pres­id­ent Stan Cy­w­in­ski little choice but to table the idea.

“I think what I’m hear­ing is we’re just not ready. I’ll tell them we’ll pass on this round,” Cy­w­in­ski said.

By “them,” the civic lead­er was re­fer­ring to Ka­BOOM! — a Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based non-profit or­gan­iz­a­tion that part­ners with cor­por­a­tions and vo­lun­teer groups to de­vel­op play areas mostly in eco­nom­ic­ally stressed or dis­ad­vant­aged com­munit­ies.

The ba­sic premise is for cor­por­ate, found­a­tion and in­di­vidu­al donors to provide the bulk of the fund­ing, while Ka­BOOM! brings the know-how, and the neigh­bor­hood sup­plies the man­power.

Ac­cord­ing to Cy­w­in­ski, the Friends of Pennypack Park was the lead com­munity or­gan­iz­a­tion in the loc­al pro­pos­al, but the Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation and the city’s Parks and Re­cre­ation De­part­ment were to provide vi­tal sup­port in rais­ing seed money, round­ing up vo­lun­teers, af­firm­ing the chosen site and as­sur­ing per­petu­al main­ten­ance.

Ka­BOOM! re­quires open space meas­ur­ing at least 50 feet by 50 feet. Once ap­proved and fun­ded, con­struc­tion is ex­pec­ted to take just one day from start to fin­ish.

Con­sent and en­thu­si­asm from im­me­di­ate neigh­bors are also con­sidered vi­tal to the Ka­BOOM! mod­el. Up­per Holmes­burg didn’t demon­strate that.

Dur­ing the civic meet­ing, one long­time loc­al res­id­ent said that the site at Frank­ford and Pennypack already draws too many youths and young adults, without the ad­ded at­trac­tion of play­ground equip­ment. Nobody at the meet­ing offered a counter opin­ion.

The civic group did not take a form­al vote on the play­ground pro­pos­al. It re­mains un­known if the Friends of Pennypack Park plans to ap­ply to Ka­BOOM! for the play­ground fund­ing, any­way.

In un­re­lated neigh­bor­hood busi­ness:

• The civic as­so­ci­ation gave its pre­lim­in­ary con­sent to a con­cep­tu­al pro­pos­al by the own­ers of the Ash­burn­er Inn to cre­ate an out­door caf&ea­cute;-style din­ing area.

Mike Driscoll and Steve Bish­op, who own the prop­erty at 8400 Tor­res­dale Ave., said that the patio would be set up to the north of the build­ing in the ex­ist­ing park­ing lot.

Pat­rons wish­ing to enter the patio would have to do so from the in­side of the bar/res­taur­ant. Out­door ac­cess would be closed so that the staff could con­trol who enters the patio.

Food ser­vice would be avail­able out­side, as would a port­able bar. Hours of op­er­a­tion have not been set.

The busi­ness has yet to ap­ply to the city for prop­er build­ing and op­er­at­ing per­mits.

• The UHCA is plan­ning its an­nu­al Oc­to­ber­fest at St. Domin­ic’s Mari­an Hall for Fri­day, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

In­di­vidu­al seats are avail­able for $25. It costs $200 to re­serve a table of 10. The buf­fet will in­clude a vari­ety of homemade sea­son­al dishes, along with soft drinks and beer.

Raffles will be bas­kets of cheer, sports mem­or­ab­il­ia and oth­er gifts sup­plied by loc­al busi­nesses.

Money raised will dir­ectly sup­port the UHCA and its ef­forts to rep­res­ent the com­munity on zon­ing and oth­er is­sues. For in­form­a­tion, vis­it www.up­per­holmes­burg.org or the Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation page on Face­book.com.

• The next UHCA meet­ing will be on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m., at St. Domin­ic’s Mari­an Hall, 8532 Frank­ford Ave. ••

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or bkenny@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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