Northeast Times

City cleans up large Bustleton property

  • Then and now: Community Life Improvement Program workers cleaned out the weeds and tall grass at 9432 Roosevelt Blvd. in Bustleton. CLIP workers were on the property for a total of seven hours on July 30 and 31. JOHN LOFTUS & MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • Then and now: Community Life Improvement Program workers cleaned out the weeds and tall grass at 9432 Roosevelt Blvd. in Bustleton. CLIP workers were on the property for a total of seven hours on July 30 and 31. JOHN LOFTUS & MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

  • Then and now: Community Life Improvement Program workers cleaned out the weeds and tall grass at 9432 Roosevelt Blvd. in Bustleton. CLIP workers were on the property for a total of seven hours on July 30 and 31. JOHN LOFTUS & MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

A Bustleton prop­erty that’s of­ten been in the news re­cently got a cut and a trim from the city. 

Com­munity Life Im­prove­ment Pro­gram work­ers late last month whacked the weeds and tall grass at 9432 Roosevelt Blvd. and hauled away trash. The prop­erty is at the south­w­est corner of Grant Av­en­ue and the Boulevard. The grass and weeds were so thick and high on the Grant Av­en­ue side that they al­most ob­scured the side­walk.

The ad­dress has some his­tory. The build­ing was the fo­cus of con­sid­er­able com­munity ire in early 2011 be­cause of plans to use it for a meth­adone clin­ic. The city aban­doned those plans when it was de­nounced by hun­dreds of res­id­ents dur­ing a Feb­ru­ary 2009 com­munity meet­ing. 

Ac­cord­ing to on­line city re­cords, Mer­ck Real Es­tate LLC, a Blooms­burg, Pa., com­pany, bought the prop­erty in 2011 for $1.8 mil­lion. Neigh­bors al­most im­me­di­ately com­plained about what they said was un­per­mit­ted work go­ing on as the build­ing was be­ing re­fit­ted as an “Ur­gent Care” cen­ter and of­fices. The De­part­ment of Li­censes & In­spec­tions ordered work stopped un­til the own­er com­plied.

Re­cently, the city had to re­move five trees from the curb­side in front of the prop­erty be­cause they had been dam­aged so severely they were in danger of fall­ing either in­to the build­ing or in­to the Boulevard’s south­bound lanes. A city tree in­spect­or noted that someone had killed the trees by deeply cut­ting in­to their trunks.

CLIP work­ers were on the prop­erty for a total of sev­en hours on Ju­ly 30 and 31, said city Deputy Man­aging Dir­ect­or Thomas Con­way. The prop­erty cur­rently looks well-man­i­cured. The city billed the own­er more than $2,100 for the work and ad­min­is­trat­ive fees.

Ac­cord­ing to the city’s on­line re­cords, there already is a tax li­en on the prop­erty, and al­most $88,000 in taxes, in­terest and pen­al­ties are out­stand­ing.

There is no phone list­ing for Mer­ck Real Es­tate in Blooms­burg, and the only list­ing for the com­pany’s ad­dress on Treeline Drive is a fax num­ber. An in­quiry was sent to that fax num­ber on Aug. 9, but no re­sponse was re­ceived.

Jack O’Hara, pres­id­ent of the Great­er Bustleton Civic League, said a neigh­bor had brought the prop­erty’s seedy state to his at­ten­tion earli­er in June. He said he no­ti­fied Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill’s of­fice, and CLIP was asked to clean up the prop­erty.

O’Hara said he checked on the cleanup’s status sev­er­al times. 

“I was told they were backed up be­cause of the rain,” he said, “but we knew we were on the list.”

Con­way said CLIP vis­ited the prop­erty in May 2012, but the own­er trimmed the ve­get­a­tion.

The prop­erty is the gate­way to Grant Av­en­ue in Bustleton, O’Hara said.

Be­fore the re­cent CLIP cleanup, “It was just a ter­rible-look­ing en­trance,” he said.

Be­sides the high grass and weeds, O’Hara said, “There was a pile of trash be­hind the build­ing.” That pile in­cluded a sofa and rocks, all of which CLIP work­ers hauled away.

The league has been work­ing on clean­ing up Grant Av­en­ue’s traffic is­lands, O’Hara said. Grant and Evans was a big mess, and it’s now ti­died up. 

Grant Av­en­ue traffic is­lands — one at the Boulevard and an­oth­er at Krewstown Road — were edged with the help of GB­CL mem­bers, neigh­bors and Posel Man­age­ment, O’Hara said. 

A con­tract­or was hired, and Posel Man­age­ment, which owns the Krewstown Shop­ping Cen­ter, helped pay for the work, O’Hara said. That Grant Av­en­ue work is on­go­ing. 

“We’re chip­ping away at it,” O’Hara said.

“The traffic is­lands on Grant are in need of a mow­ing, so they don’t look as good as they will later, and even bet­ter with the trees mulched,” O’Hara stated in an Aug. 9 email to the North­east Times. 

Work at 9432 Roosevelt Blvd. began soon after the prop­erty was pur­chased in Ju­ly 2011, but, now two years later, no Ur­gent Care cen­ter has opened.

Con­way said a city in­spect­or who was on the prop­erty noted that it looked va­cant.

O’Hara said he’s made in­quir­ies with the city about pos­sible re­place­ment of the trees that had to be re­moved from the prop­erty’s curb.

O’Hara said he didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing at the prop­erty or if the care cen­ter was sched­uled to open.

“I wish I knew the story,” he said. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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