It had looked like the party was going to be over before it began.
That’s the way it seemed for neighbors who had planned a July Fourth block party on the 1600 block of Orthodox St.
But there will be kind of a compromise “half-block party” on Independence Day.
Why even that much almost didn’t happen is, well, complicated.
.A late-night shooting during another party at a cross street on June 23 had resulted in revocation of the Orthodox Street party’s city permit.
Wanda Jones, administrator of the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee, said shots rang out on her street, the 4600 block of Lesher, after she and her family had words with people who had kept the street closed off hours after the city’s 8:30 p.m. deadline.
Somebody threw beer at her in her car when she returned to Lesher Street after 11 p.m., she told members of the Northeast EPIC Stakeholders during their June 28 session at Campbell AME Church.
She said she and her family got onto their street, parked their car and went back to the corner and then somebody started firing a gun. Nobody was hit, she said.
Police said the shooting occurred at 11:35 p.m.
Jason Dawkins, an aide to City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez (D-7th dist.), said streets can be closed off for block parties with city permits, but they must be reopened by 8:30 p.m.
Incidents occur at such parties, said Dawkins, who also lives on Lesher, but trouble always seems to start after the parties are supposed to be over.
The Lesher Street shooting affected plans for the July 4 Orthodox Street block party because Lesher “T-intersects” with Orthodox in the middle of the 1600 block. Closing that whole block of eastbound Orthodox for a party also meant northbound Lesher would be blocked off, Dawkins said.
Since there was a violent incident on Lesher, it can’t be blocked off for a party, Dawkins said, so the permit for the Orthodox Street party was put in jeopardy.
On Monday, Dawkins said a compromise was reached. He said he’s suggested that only half of Orthodox, east of Lesher, would be closed off. That way, Lesher won’t be blocked.
He said the Orthodox Street party had to be scaled back and parts of it will be canceled because of the smaller space.
“We are trying to prevent violence,” Capt. Frank Bachmayer, commander of the 15th Police District, said Monday. That doesn’t mean police don’t want people to have some good times, he added, but when violence occurs in a neighborhood, police are concerned it might lead to more and want to be cautious.
“All block parties have ups and downs and some roughness,” Dawkins said. “It’s part of the character of the community that you’re going to have a little bit of trouble. … You have to be realistic about the potential of things happening.” ••EndFragment EndFragment