Stack joins civic groups in letters about Nazareth apartments

State Sen. Mike Stack and the pres­id­ents of three civic as­so­ci­ations have writ­ten let­ters to the Pennsylvania Hous­ing Fin­ance Agency, ex­press­ing their con­cern about a pro­pos­al to con­vert a six-story Holme Av­en­ue con­vent in­to 44 apart­ments for vet­er­ans and oth­er low-in­come in­di­vidu­als.

The civic as­so­ci­ations that are tak­ing the lead on the is­sue — Holme Circle, Rhawn Gar­dens, Winchester Park and Ashton Square — are not ne­ces­sar­ily against the de­vel­op­ment. 

The groups are op­posed to the “gen­er­al oc­cu­pancy” and “home­less” list­ings on the ap­plic­a­tion for de­vel­op­ment.

The 45,399-square-foot con­vent is loc­ated at 2723 Holme Ave. It is ad­ja­cent to, but sep­ar­ate from, Naz­areth Hos­pit­al. The hos­pit­al has not taken a pub­lic stance on the pro­pos­al.

The Illinois-based Sis­ters of the Holy Fam­ily of Naz­areth of the USA own the con­vent. An es­tim­ated 20 nuns who live there will move to an­oth­er, smal­ler con­vent on the same grounds.

Colum­bus Prop­erty Man­age­ment & De­vel­op­ment Inc., aka 1260 Hous­ing De­vel­op­ment Corp., does not need zon­ing ap­prov­al, but it is seek­ing state fund­ing for the $11 mil­lion-plus pro­ject.

CPM prom­ised at the Nov. 28 Holme Circle Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing that all 44 units would be oc­cu­pied by vet­er­ans, but its pa­per­work in­dic­ates that “oth­er low-in­come in­di­vidu­als” could move in­to the apart­ments.

Op­pon­ents cite is­sues such as crime, park­ing and Sec­tion 8 vouch­ers as con­cerns. They are call­ing for a 99-year, leg­ally bind­ing agree­ment for a hous­ing des­ig­na­tion of “seni­ors only,” wheth­er they be vet­er­ans or not.

Stack and the civic lead­ers ad­dressed their let­ters to Bri­an A. Hud­son, ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Pennsylvania Hous­ing Fin­ance Agency.

“Trans­par­ency is im­port­ant and seems to be lack­ing in this ap­plic­a­tion,” Stack wrote.

Oth­er let­ters were writ­ten by civic as­so­ci­ation pres­id­ents Joe De­Fe­lice (May­fair), Mary Ann Cicalese-Kiker (Winchester Park) and Rich Frizell (Holmes­burg).

Frizell, Cicalese-Kiker and her ex­ec­ut­ive board asked Hud­son to dis­reg­ard the ap­plic­a­tion state­ment that the pro­pos­al was “well re­ceived by the com­munity.”

The Holme Circle Civic As­so­ci­ation will meet again on Wed­nes­day, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m., at St. Jerome school hall.

The Pennsylvania Hous­ing Fin­ance Agency is not ex­pec­ted to make a de­cision on fund­ing un­til March. ••

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