Holmesburg Civic leaders tight-lipped about Liddonfield

Lead­ers of the Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation know more than most folks do about the fu­ture of the former Lid­don­field Homes pub­lic hous­ing de­vel­op­ment, but they’re not at liberty to dis­cuss it pub­licly just yet.

Speak­ing at the civic group’s monthly meet­ing last Thursday, pres­id­ent Stan Cy­w­in­ski and zon­ing chair­man Paul DeFinis said they have spoken with sev­er­al of the de­velopers plan­ning to bid on the 32-acre Lid­don­field prop­erty, which has been put up for sale by the Phil­adelphia Hous­ing Au­thor­ity. But those dis­cus­sions oc­curred only on con­di­tion that the civic lead­ers with­hold the names and plans of the pro­spect­ive buy­ers at least un­til after the Dec. 1 bid dead­line.

And PHA may ex­tend that dead­line in­to Janu­ary, any­way, ac­cord­ing to Cy­w­in­ski.

“We’ve been act­ively in­volved in the (re­quest for pro­pos­als). I’ve talked to a num­ber of de­velopers con­fid­en­tially,” Cy­w­in­ski said. “All of them had a twenty/twelve plan.”

The 20/12 plan is the civic as­so­ci­ation’s en­dorsed vis­ion for the site at Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue and Megar­gee Street. Un­der that concept, 12 acres would be avail­able for res­id­en­tial de­vel­op­ment and 20 acres avail­able for sports and re­cre­ation fa­cil­it­ies. The 20/12 ra­tio is re­com­men­ded in the re­quest for pro­pos­als is­sued earli­er this year by PHA, al­though there’s no guar­an­tee that the win­ning bid­der will ad­here to the com­munity’s wishes.

Ac­cord­ing to Cy­w­in­ski, sev­er­al pro­spect­ive bid­ders con­tac­ted the civic group seek­ing its in­put, while oth­er pro­spect­ive bid­ders have kept their dis­tance, in­clud­ing some that the civic pres­id­ent ex­pects will pro­pose gov­ern­ment sub­sid­ized hous­ing.

The civic group wants to see mar­ket rate hous­ing on the site or age-re­stric­ted sub­sid­ized hous­ing for seni­or cit­izens.

“There are low-in­come build­ers in­ter­ested in this,” Cy­w­in­ski said.

DeFinis echoed Cy­w­in­ski’s as­sess­ment.

“Some de­velopers want our sup­port and want to work with us and some don’t,” he said. “(But) whatever hap­pens in the next week or two is go­ing to have a big ef­fect on the area, or it could be put on hold for years.”

Ac­cord­ing to Cy­w­in­ski, the civic group has con­tac­ted PHA to ask if an ex­ten­sion to the bid dead­line is pos­sible, so that they can ob­tain more in­form­a­tion dir­ectly from pro­spect­ive bid­ders be­fore the pro­cess moves for­ward. Some pro­spect­ive bid­ders may have asked for ex­ten­sions, too, Cy­w­in­ski said. But the Dec. 1 dead­line re­mains in place for now.

• The next gen­er­al meet­ing of the Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation will be on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at St. Domin­ic’s Mari­an Hall, 8532 Frank­ford Av­en­ue. 

The civic group’s an­nu­al hol­i­day party with snacks and re­fresh­ments is the primary item on the agenda. More in­form­a­tion may be avail­able about the Lid­don­field site. ••

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

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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