The city plans to build a long driveway from Comly Road to the back of its new police academy on Woodhaven Road.
At the Oct. 19 Normandy Civic Association meeting at the Norcom Community Center, nearby residents learned that the drive will run parallel with Joseph Kelly Terrace, a private street that is the neighborhood’s eastern boundary.
That is not what some expected, however. They also told city representatives that turning from their street onto Comly is difficult enough without the addition of more traffic.
Some neighbors said they had been led to believe that access to what had been the Philadelphia Memorial Armed Forces Reserve Center at 2838-98 Woodhaven Road would come from Thornton Road, not Comly.
Thomas Elsasser, legislative assistant in the city Managing Director’s Office, and project coordinator Francis Matejik told them on Oct. 19, however, that the northern part of the now wooded land that stretches from Comly to Woodhaven between Thornton and Joseph Kelly gets too much water from surrounding streets and a ball field at Thornton and Comly. Therefore, they said, building a road there is not feasible.
Elsasser said there is time to consider a suggestion to add a traffic light on Comly at the turn for the new access drive.
“This isn’t going to happen tomorrow,” Elsasser said.
The issue will be discussed at the civic association’s next meeting, Thursday, Nov. 17, at the Norcom Community Center, 10980 Norcom Road.
When renovations are complete in early 2013, the old reserve center will be the Police Department’s training bureau campus. Veteran officers will get advanced training there, and recruits and dispatchers will be trained there, too. The firing range will remain on the Police Academy property on State Road.
City Councilman Brian O’Neill (R-10th dist.) said moving police training into the property is its best use.
The city is getting the 9-acre property from the U.S. Department of Defense at no cost through the federal Base Realignment and Closure Program. The city has been working on acquiring the property since 2006, he said.
The city will renovate the 80,000-square-foot building and 9,000-square-foot garage to suit its needs. ••
Reporter John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or firstname.lastname@example.org