Holy Family hopes to open athletic fields at Liddonfield site

There may not seem to be much go­ing on at the former site of the Lid­don­field pub­lic hous­ing pro­ject, but there has been some pro­gress to­ward the much-an­ti­cip­ated con­ver­sion of the 32-acre tract in­to a satel­lite cam­pus for Holy Fam­ily Uni­versity.

Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation Pres­id­ent Stan Cy­w­in­ski re­por­ted to neigh­bors last Thursday that the uni­versity and its land de­vel­op­ment part­ner hope to open ath­let­ic fields at the old Lid­don­field site next spring. Cy­w­in­ski said he spoke with the uni­versity pres­id­ent, Sis­ter Francesca On­ley, as well as BSI Con­struc­tion own­er John Par­sons in ad­vance of the March 21 UHCA meet­ing.

“All sys­tems are go,” Cy­w­in­ski said of the re­devel­op­ment plan that the civic group en­dorsed.

The Phil­adelphia Hous­ing Au­thor­ity, which op­er­ated Lid­don­field for dec­ades as a sprawl­ing low-in­come apart­ment com­plex, still owns the land, which is sur­roun­ded by Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue to the south­east, Megar­gee Street to the south­w­est, Tol­but Street to the north­east and Cot­tage Street to the north­w­est. In Ju­ly, the pub­lic hous­ing agency agreed to sell the land to the Holy Fam­ily/BSI part­ner­ship, which won a bid­ding pro­cess con­duc­ted by the agency.

At the time, the parties of the pro­posed sale in­dic­ated that the deal would re­quire fi­nal ap­prov­al from the fed­er­al Of­fice of Hous­ing and Urb­an De­vel­op­ment. That ap­prov­al has yet to oc­cur.

However, Holy Fam­ily and BSI are mov­ing ahead as if the ap­prov­al is a mere form­al­ity. Par­sons in­formed Cy­w­in­ski that he had met with PHA of­fi­cials to dis­cuss one por­tion of the de­vel­op­ment plan that in­cludes hous­ing for low-in­come seni­ors, ac­cord­ing to the civic pres­id­ent.

Mean­while, ac­cord­ing to Cy­w­in­ski, On­ley has also met with PHA to dis­cuss how to im­ple­ment a uni­versity schol­ar­ship pro­gram to be­ne­fit PHA res­id­ent stu­dents. More meet­ings are ex­pec­ted.

Some neigh­bors would like to see an­oth­er kind of activ­ity on the site. They think that the own­er should take bet­ter care of the nat­ur­al land­scape.

Dur­ing the sum­mer, neigh­bors com­plained about high grass and weeds.

Last week, they com­plained that dead trees had fallen onto a peri­met­er fence and side­walk, but nobody had shown up to re­move the debris.

There are no build­ings left on the tract. The apart­ments were de­mol­ished with the help of state fund­ing be­fore PHA is­sued the RFP.

The next Up­per Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing will be on Thursday, April 18, at 7 p.m. at St. Domin­ic’s Mari­an Hall, 8532 Frank­ford Ave. •• 

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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