Northeast Times

Police union is moving its headquarters to Normandy

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Mem­bers of the Nor­mandy Civic As­so­ci­ation gave the FOP’s Lodge 5 a big wel­come last week.

John McNesby, FOP pres­id­ent, on Jan. 17 asked as­so­ci­ation mem­bers to sup­port the po­lice uni­on’s move from its cur­rent headquar­ters at Broad and Spring Garden streets to new digs on old IRS prop­erty on Car­oline Road near Comly Road. The prop­erty at 11630 Car­oline is zoned for in­dus­tri­al use, so the uni­on needed two vari­ances so it could op­er­ate as a so­cial club and also have mu­sic.

That was a big “no prob­lem” for the civic group’s mem­bers, who voted un­an­im­ously to sup­port the FOP’s zon­ing ap­plic­a­tion. Mem­bers said they would in­form the city’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment of the as­so­ci­ation’s sup­port.

“I see it as a def­in­ite plus,” said the civic group’s pres­id­ent, John Wis­niewski.

The move makes sense for the uni­on and the com­munity, McNesby told mem­bers be­fore they voted.

He said 68 per­cent of the FOP’s mem­bers are from the North­east, so put­ting the uni­on’s headquar­ters and ca­ter­ing hall where they live is a con­veni­ence for them. The cur­rent build­ing is old, needs ex­pens­ive re­pairs and the only avail­able park­ing spots are on the street.

Former uni­on head Rich Cos­tello said the cur­rent build­ing dates back from the time the FOP was “a beer and pret­zels or­gan­iz­a­tion.”

The city’s Fraternal Or­der of Po­lice lodge is now one of the largest po­lice uni­ons in the coun­try, Cos­tello said, and has out­grown its cur­rent HQ. The new loc­a­tion will be ideal, he ad­ded.

Hav­ing a lot of po­lice of­ficers com­ing and go­ing adds an ex­tra ele­ment of com­munity pro­tec­tion, too, McNesby said.

“It would be a good thing for the neigh­bor­hood,” McNesby said.

McNesby and at­tor­ney Shawn Ward ex­plained that the new uni­on hall would be a great ca­ter­ing fa­cil­ity. McNesby ad­ded that, once build­ing renov­a­tions are com­plete and the hall opened in the fall, he ex­pec­ted the hall would be booked for years in ad­vance.

He said the uni­on is pay­ing a little more than $2 mil­lion for the prop­erty, and he hopes to sell the old build­ing for about $1.8 mil­lion to the Phil­adelphia Boys Choir.

Nor­mandy, a small neigh­bor­hood of less than 500 house­holds, will soon be sand­wiched by po­lice fa­cil­it­ies. The FOP lodge will be on the south end of the area, and the city’s new po­lice train­ing cen­ter is slated for the old re­serve cen­ter on Wood­haven Road in the neigh­bor­hood’s north.

The city’s plan to use the re­serve cen­ter re­ceived un­an­im­ous back­ing by the civic as­so­ci­ation mem­bers dur­ing their Novem­ber meet­ing.

The civic or­gan­iz­a­tion’s next meet­ing will be at 7 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, Feb. 15, at the Nor­com Com­munity Cen­ter, 10980 Nor­com Road. ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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