Port Richmond says no to potential halfway house
Port Richmond residents voted 89-0 against a rezoning that would benefit a developer of halfway homes that is currently in talks to move its operation to Port Richmond, according to Theresa Costello of the Port Richmond Community Group.
Residents at the PRCG meeting on Thursday, June 25, discussed the Kintock Group’s plans to move its corporate headquarters from King of Prussia to 2121 Wheatsheaf Lane in Port Richmond, a secluded office area behind the Lowes and Target stores on Aramingo Avenue.
The Kintock Group develops residential re-entry facilities for prisoners on supervised release.
Kintock said it does not currently plan to build a halfway house at the Wheatsheaf Lane location, but could do so in the future, if a contract for such a facility was offered.
City Councilman Mark Squilla (D-1st dist.) is sponsoring a spot-zoning bill in City Council, #130387, which would rezone this parcel to industrial uses, potentially to permit the construction of a re-entry facility.
Squilla’s predecessor, former City Councilman Frank DiCicco, previously sponsored a bill that rezoned the area from industrial to commercial to attract a commercial buyer. Squilla’s bill could return the area to its original zoning.
Costello said neighbors opposed the bill due to concerns that a Kintock Group halfway home would bring criminals and drug addicts on parole to the neighborhood. ••
Hinge Café closing temporarily, regaining former management
Hinge Café, 2652 E. Somerset St., closed temporarily on Sunday, July 7, for a change in management and for renovations.
Hinge’s original founder, who goes only by Simone, confirmed by phone Monday that the café will only be closed for a few weeks.
Simone said that when the cafe reopens, it will be called Comfort at the Hinge Cafe.
Simone said she left the café two years ago, and will return with her team to run it this month. T DeLuca, who has been running the restaurant for the past two years, left the café on July 7.
In a message on the café’s website, it read: “T would like to extend a very special thank you to every customer who has supported the Café, not only since the beginning, but especially over the past two years.”
Simone said she and her team, including chef Stanley Pliszka, will move back into the space July 18, and will remain closed for renovations for an estimated two to four weeks.
The Hinge has launched a new Facebook page this week, facebook.com/comfortatthehingecafe, where patrons can check for updates.
Simone also said that when the café reopens, most of the prices on the menu would go down. The café will also honor any gift certificates purchased within the last year.
In a Monday email, Simone wrote: “We would like to thank T and her team for their time and dedication during the past two years and wish them great luck in their new endeavors.” ••
Wynn invites locals to Vegas, hosts event, wins voter approval in Mass.
Ed note: this item has been updated from the original posting.
Developer Steve Wynn, whose proposed casino in Fishtown is currently competing with five other proposals for a state casino license, is arranging familiarization tours for community leaders to see first-hand the behind the scenes operations of Wynn’s resort properties in Las Vegas. FAM tours, Wynn’s communications team said, are “complimentary or reduced-rate education programs designed to acquaint individuals or groups with detailed information and experiences to help them make more informed decisions.”
Ken Paul, president of Port Richmond on Patrol and Civic; A.J. Thomson, president of Friends of Penn Treaty Park and Fishtown resident, and Tim O’Brien, former city bail commissioner and Port Richmond resident, have been identified among other community leaders for a potential trip in the coming months. Due to scheduling issues, no trips have been booked yet.
According to a trip itinerary provided by Wynn Resorts, invitees will stay in Wynn hotel suites and enjoy complimentary meals with Wynn executives; attend a back-of-the-house walking tour of operations and service; attend meet-and-greet cocktail receptions with Wynn staff members, and have free time to enjoy erformances and nightlife experiences, plus lessons in gaming, sushi making or mixology.
Wynn Philadelphia is also co-hosting, along with PROPAC, a “Picnic in the Park” event on Tuesday, July 16, from 6 to 9 p.m., at Campbell Square Park. This free event will showcase live music from the Polish American String Band and The Exceptions, with food and beverages from local vendors.
Meanwhile, Wynn recently won voter approval for a separate yet similar proposal in Everett, Mass., The Boston Globe reported.
Residents of Everett reportedly voted 87 percent in favor of granting Wynn the license to develop his casino just north of Boston. Wynn’s proposal can now be considered by the state gaming commission, which is also considering two other casino proposals for a single available license, much like the situation in Philadelphia.
Wynn Resorts Development chief operating officer Gamal Aziz released a statement indicating that any progress on the casino in Everett will not disrupt plans for the proposed Wynn Philadelphia casino and hotel.
“We believe the wide-spread support we experienced in Everett further validates the strength of our company’s ability to develop unique resorts in urban locations – including Philadelphia,” Aziz said in the statement. “It is our hope that Wynn Philadelphia will be the first showpiece in our Urban Wynn story.”
The Pennsylvania State Gaming Control Board is expected to decide which of seven potential developers will be granted a casino license for the Philadelphia area in late 2013. ••
After 20 years, Freddy Adams Tournament ends
A sports tournament that has for two decades honored a Fishtown athlete who died tragically at the age of 16 will not return this summer, organizers said.
The Freddy Adams Tournament, a three-day sports tournament held annually in August that provided scholarships to local students, will not return this year, said tournament president Sara Colville last week in a message to the community.
“It is with mixed emotions both sad and joyous that I announce it is our time to allow the memory of my nephew Freddy Adams become just that — part of the memories of Fishtown,” Colville wrote. “We reached our 20th year anniversary tournament last year and have decided that it will be the last one.”
A popular community event, the Freddy Adams Tournament raised money for scholarships for eighth-grade students to attend a Catholic or private high school in the city.
The tournament was first held in August 1993, five months after Freddy Adams sustained massive head injuries in a playground fight with other teens and later died.
Adams was a junior at Northeast Catholic High School and beloved Fishtown resident who played soccer and baseball and coached hockey at the Fishtown Recreation Center. He is also memorialized in a mural on the Fishtown Recreation Center’s wall. ••
Walking Fish to head west
Fishtown’s B. Someday Productions, which calls the Walking Fish Theatre home, is calling for donations toward its cultural exchange program in New Mexico later this month.
According to a press release, from July 22 through July 26, B. Someday Productions’ artistic director, Michelle Pauls, will bring a theatre camp to Navajo teens living on the Navajo Nation Reservation in the area served by the Thoreau Community Center, Thoreau, New Mexico.
The camp will serve grades eight through twelve. Pauls said she will travel with her daughter, Astrid. The program expenses are about $2,700.
Originally, Pauls started a Kickstarter campaign to raise $5,000 for the trip, which was originally going to be two weeks long. Her original partner had to back out, so expenses were lowered and the trip was shortened.
As per Kickstarter’s guidelines, Since Pauls only raised $1,971 of its Kickstarter goal by the deadline, she will see none of that money toward the trip. She is instead asking the backers who have already contributed to instead pay their donation via The Walking Fish website, walkingfishtheatre.com/donate. Check the site for more information about the trip.
You can also mail a check for any amount, payable to B. Someday Productions, and put ‘Navajo Summer Camp’ in the subject line. The mailing address is: B. Someday Productions, Walking Fish Theatre, 2509 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia PA, 19125. ••
Port Richmond woman dies after struggle with cancer
Linda Belz, who became a focus of community support after her struggle with ovarian cancer was made public, passed away on Friday, June 21 at the age of 30.
The community came together to support Belz after her dying wish to pay for her own funeral was made public in the Philadelphia Daily News.
Students at Penn Treaty Middle School organized a fundraiser; Kiddie Garden Daycare in Fishtown held a bake sale; the S&C Sweet Factory in Port Richmond sold special “Lollies 4 Linda,” and community members held the “Lace Up for Linda” sports tournament in May, all to support Belz.
Belz’ family and friends estimated that $9,000 would be needed to cover funeral expenses. In the end, neighbors and local businesses came together to donate a total of $14,000 to Belz and her family. ••
Buy Phillies tickets, support PAL
Buy tickets to any of the following Phillies games for $26 and help support the Police Athletic League (PAL) and the youth of Philadelphia: Tuesday, August 6, Phillies vs. Cubs, 7:05 p.m.; Tuesday, August 20, Phillies vs. Rockies, 7:05 p.m.; Tuesday, Sept. 3, Phillies vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m.; Wednesday, Sept. 4, Phillies vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m.; Wednesday, September 11, Phillies vs. Padres, 7:05 p.m. For more information, visit PAL’s website, www.phillypal.com. To learn more or buy ticket, please call Sandy Harris at 215-291-9000, ext. 105. ull;•
—Compiled by Mikala Jamison and Sam Newhouse