Rich Negrin, the city managing director, is really high on the Philly311 smart phone application.
“This is City Hall in the palm of your hand,” he said at last week’s meeting of the Holmesburg Civic Association.
The application can be downloaded for free on iPhones and Droids. It can be used to make service requests, send pictures and report graffiti, potholes, overgrown vacant lots and broken curbs.
“You guys need to use this,” Negrin said.
The app was introduced about five months ago, and so far some 14,000 people have downloaded it onto their smart phones.
During the recent election season, citizens used it to find their polling place location, read a sample ballot and learn about the pending voter identification law.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the area in late October, the app provided answers to frequently asked questions, had a list of rescue centers and invited people to report the locations of fallen trees.
The app also contains the e-mail addresses and office phone numbers of city officials.
“This app is a great source of information,” Negrin said. “Your government is more accessible than it has ever been.”
In other news from the March 12 meeting:
• New Foundations Charter School CEO Paul Stadelberger told the crowd that the three-story high school opened in early January at 4850 Rhawn St. The elementary school remains nearby at Rhawn Street and Torresdale Avenue.
Stadelberger said the school paid $1.5 million for the high school property, which formerly housed a metal and glass company. The demolition and construction cost another $12 million, and there are plans to build an auditorium.
Stadelberger explained that he’s asked the 8th and 15th police districts to place a crossing guard at Rhawn and Torresdale, but that studies have shown not enough kids cross the street at that intersection to warrant a guard.
“I would love to have a crossing guard. I’ve asked and asked and asked,” he said.
Lisa Deeley, an aide to City Councilman Bobby Henon, said she’ll request another study now that the high school is open.
Stadelberger sparred with a few neighbors on parking and traffic issues. He said teachers are not permitted to park on the street. He also called on motorists to slow down on Rhawn Street for the safety of the students.
• Karen Lash, president of the Friends of Holmesburg Library, spoke about all of the upcoming free events at the branch, located at 7810 Frankford Ave. (at Hartel Avenue).
The dates, times and events are April 8, 6 p.m., Apreggio Jazz Ensemble; April 29, 6:30 p.m., Mad Science Presents Spin, Pop, Boom; May 2, 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Computer Basics for Adults; May 9, 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Internet Basics for Adults; May 13, 6 p.m., Pages to Pirouettes ballet, with appearances by Cinderella and full-costumed dancers; May 16, 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., E-Mail Class for Adults; and June 17, 6:30 p.m., Pirate Magic and Puppet Show.
In addition, the summer reading/make-and-take crafts program is scheduled for Thursdays at 3 p.m. from July 11 to Aug. 1.
Call 215-685-8756 or check out the Friends of Holmesburg Library page on Facebook.
• The civic group approved three zoning proposals. Members voted 19-2 to legalize an existing beauty salon on the 4600 block of Ashville St., 16-5 to legalize an existing corner duplex on the 4500 block of Aldine St. and 21-0 to approve an awning outside McGeehan’s, a bar at Cottman Avenue and Cottage Street. There was one abstention in each of the three votes.
• Holmesburg Civic Association will meet again on Tuesday, April 9, at 7:15 p.m. at Holmesburg Recreation Center, at Rhawn and Ditman streets. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or email@example.com