Northwood Civic hopes to reopen Frankford Community Y


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 frank­

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 nw­town­watch@hot­

• 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. ••


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