Northwood Civic Association vice president Frank Bennett hopes to reopen the New Frankford Community Y.
The 33,000-square-foot, non-profit facility, at Arrott and Leiper streets, closed in 2009. It suffered from the loss of a state grant and a lack of interest among residents.
The Y opened in the early 1990s following the closing of the Philadelphia YWCA. It consists of a 19th-century mansion and an addition built in the 1970s.
The members of the former board of directors have moved on, according to Bennett. He recently replaced the last remaining member and plans to add new members at a meeting on Sunday.
For now, members of St. Martin of Tours-based Boy Scout Troop 100 cleaned out a lot of trash. New locks have been installed and boards placed on the windows. The swimming pool is in good shape.
Challenges that remain include a leaky roof, stolen copper and other forms of vandalism.
There’s an outstanding mortgage of more than $200,000, but Bennett hopes Beneficial Bank waives it if the board comes up with a successful business plan. There are also unpaid gas and electric bills.
Bennett will be seeking insurance and looks forward to seeing the electricity restored. He is building a Web site at frankfordy.com
In other news from the Oct. 16 meeting:
• Northwood is part of the 177th and 179th legislative districts in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Democrat James Clay, running unopposed in the 179th, attended last week’s meeting.
In the 177th, Republican Rep. John Taylor faces Democrat William Dunbar. Taylor was in Harrisburg and missed the meeting. He was represented by Marc Collazzo, his chief of staff. Dunbar was in attendance.
Collazzo said Taylor is trying to make sure residents don’t experience higher property taxes when the city adopts the Actual Value Initiative. He also worked to restore budget cuts to public education, higher education and programs that assist special needs children.
And his office receives about 250 calls about new issues each week.
Taylor, elected in 1984, is an important figure as the only Philadelphia Republican in the House, according to Collazzo.
“He’s the one who gets things done for Philadelphia,” he said.
Dunbar is calling for term limits.
“We need change. I’m twenty-eight years old. Rep. Taylor has been here since the day I was born,” he said.
Dunbar, who has unsuccessfully tried to engage Taylor in a debate, said the state offers too many corporate tax breaks. He opposes the state’s new voter identification law, which will be implemented next year, and faults Taylor for not fighting more for Philadelphia at budget time.
“His voting record has drastically hurt this community,” he said.
Barry Howell, who served as the civic association’s president for four years, put in a word for the incumbent.
“Nobody did more for Northwood than John Taylor,” he said.
• U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-13th dist.) spoke to the crowd. After Rep. Bob Brady took over representing the North Delaware Avenue riverfront following redistricting, Schwartz gained new ground, including Northwood.
Schwartz, a former state senator, is seeking her fifth term against Republican Joe Rooney, who greeted residents after the meeting.
The congresswoman mentioned the prior passage of a bill she sponsored that gives tax credits to businesses that hire veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. She also pointed to her work improving driver and pedestrian safety along Roosevelt Boulevard and enhancing the commercial districts along Frankford and Torresdale avenues.
Schwartz said leaders in Washington will be tackling issues such as Medicare and taxes next term.
“There’s a lot at stake in this election,” she said.
• The owner of a proposed hair salon agreed to ask the Zoning Board of Adjustment to continue her scheduled Nov. 13 hearing. The salon would move into a former video store at 5260 Castor Ave.
Neighbors have concerns about parking and planned upstairs apartments. Howell noted that residents objected when a similar proposal was presented in the past.
• The civic association accepted nominations for officers. Joe Krause, the president, and Gina Panchella, the secretary, were nominated for new terms.
Frank Bennett expects to have his hands full with the New Frankford Community Y and asked to be replaced as vice president, though he’d like to serve as a director. Tom McAvoy, president of Northwood Town Watch, accepted a nomination as vice president.
Nominated as directors were Bennett, Lou Kubik, Mary Robus, Ed Martin and Ron Allen.
• Anyone who wants to report information to Northwood Town Watch can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
• Northwood Civic Association will meet on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m., at St. James Lutheran Church, at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street. The guest will be District Attorney Seth Williams. ••EndFragment