Mayor Michael Nutter saw the good and the bad of Tacony on Saturday afternoon.
Nutter joined City Councilman Bobby Henon, neighborhood leaders and representatives of city agencies in a walking and driving tour of the neighborhood.
Georgeanne Huff Labovitz, a Tacony Community Development Corporation board member and owner of Marie Huff Hairdressing, told the mayor that police presence is her top issue.
“The district is way too big,” she said of the 15th Police District.
Nutter told her 120 officers will graduate from the Police Academy by June.
“They’re all going to be on patrol,” he said.
“We’ll take a couple,” said the hair salon owner, whose shop stays open until 9 p.m.
Nutter also stopped in DeNofa’s Deli & Catering, Smith’s Hardware and Computer Guy. Owners urged him to implement policies that would bring more businesses to the Torresdale Avenue commercial corridor.
Afterward, Nutter said he likes taking neighborhood tours, but he likes action and results better.
Among those on the tour were Capt. Frank Bachmayer, commander of the 15th Police District; Tom Conway, a deputy city managing director; leaders of the Tacony Civic Association, Town Watch and CDC; and officials from the city Department of Licenses and Inspections and sanitation division.
“My purpose was to show him that his investment in the neighborhood is critical,” Henon said of Nutter.
Alex Balloon, the CDC’s new commercial corridor manager, is hoping to partner with the city on initiatives.
The neighborhood will get a little boost in early April, when Henon opens a district office at 6730 Torresdale Ave.
As for the residential areas, Nutter saw plenty of blight. Some residents of the 6600 and 6700 blocks of Marsden St. and the 6900 block of Tulip St. think it’s OK to pile junk on their front porches.
The mayor’s vehicle also paused at the sites of the murder of a Chinese restaurant owner last month and the apartment basement where four mentally challenged and malnourished people were found last October. Bachmayer said no arrests have been made in the murder.
Still, there are plenty of neighborhood jewels, including Disston Park.
A new Engine 38 firehouse is finally coming to the corner of Keystone Street and Magee Avenue after the station at State Road and Longshore Avenue closed in February 2009 and was later demolished to make way for an I-95 northbound entrance.
To beautify the neighborhood, Philadelphia Mural Arts Program executive director Jane Golden is eyeing large walls for murals.
The Tacony Historical Society recently placed plaques on homes within the Disston Estate. The group is hoping to win historic district recognition, which should spur rehabilitation with a federal tax credit for commercial properties.
And the Delaware River City Corporation is building Lardner’s Point Park on four and a half acres just south of the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. Other privately owned riverfront land at Princeton Avenue and at Magee Avenue is sitting idle as the poor economy scares developers from proceeding.
According to the latest census figures, Tacony’s population has risen 8 percent in the last decade, so something is attracting new residents.
“It has its challenges,” Henon said, “but there’s a lot of good in Tacony.” ••EndFragment