Proposal for Front Street banks may be withdrawn
A controversial housing development for historic banks at Front and Norris streets that’s currently tied up in court may have been quietly canceled by its developer, the Women’s Community Revitalization Project (WCRP).
Hidden City Philadelphia reported Friday that the WCRP has returned the state tax credits it needed to fund a proposed 25-unit housing development inside the historic Ninth National Bank and Industrial Title, Trust Savings Company buildings at 1942-58 North Front St.
The buildings were purchased by the Norris Square Civic Association in 1989 and sold to the WCRP for this project. The WCRP planned to build the Nitza Tufino townhomes, an affordable housing project for low-income mothers and families.
In 2012, at a meeting of the Norris Square Civic Association, Fishtown Neighbors Association and East Kensington Neighbors Association, residents voted against the housing proposal on grounds of density, safety, plans to maintain Front Street as a commercial corridor, and historic preservation of the buildings.
In August 2012, the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) granted variances for the housing proposal over neighborhood opposition. Two Kensington residents appealed the ZBA’s decision.
That appeal is pending but may be rendered moot if the WCRP cancels its proposal. ••
A humane option for stray cats; free in 19134
After a kitten was found burnt and wandering the streets of Kensington, the Forgotten Cats organization is reminding locals that they offer services to control local populations of stray cats.
Parts of the River Wards have high populations of stray cats.
“I don’t know how many we take in, but we take in a lot,” said a representative of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
That’s why Forgotten Cats offers “trap-neuter-return” services for $50 per cat. They provide this service to about 600 cats a month, said John Meyers, a Forgotten Cats employee.
However, for residents of 19134, Forgotten Cats has grant money available to provide the TNR service free of charge to people who care for colonies of strays.
Once Forgotten Cats is contacted, they will bring out traps for cats and set them up where feral cats have been sighted.
“We show people how to set the traps. Then we come by, pick them up, give them a rabies shot, spay or neuter them and give them a one-time tropical flea and worm treatment … then bring them back to the same exact address,” Meyers said.
These services are especially significant after a five-week-old stray kitten that had been set on fire in Kensington was found last week on F Street near McPherson Square Park in Kensington.
The kitten is being treated at Crown Veterinary Hospital in Lebanon, N.J.
The Humane Society is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever set the kitten on fire.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 866-601-SPCA (7722). To find out more about the free TNR services in your area, contact John at 215-219-8148. ••
Bridesburg gets $200K grant to clean up
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded a $200,000 grant to the Philadelphia City Planning Commission to plan for the reuse and rehabilitation of brownfield properties along Frankford Creek, including in Bridesburg.
This grant will go towards a study into planning the “cleanup and reactivation of brownfield” land, according to the EPA. “Brownfield” is the technical designation for post-industrial sites with contaminated soil.
The four-mile-square area around Frankford Creek designated in the grant includes parts of Bridesburg, Frankford, Port Richmond and Juniata Park.
This includes the 126 riverfront acres that make up the former Philadelphia Coke and Rohm and Haas sites in Bridesburg, as well as the former site of Edgewater Dyeing and Finishing in Frankford.
“By comprehensively planning in partnership with the EPA, Bridesburg’s vacant brownfields can successfully be remediated and redeveloped with a dynamic mix of uses that will contribute to the city’s and region’s economic vitality” said City Councilman Bobby Henon (D-6th dist.)
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission applied for this grant. ••
Special hearing set for Penn Treaty Village project
A bar, restaurant, bowling alley and music venue complex proposed for Fishtown will get a special hearing next Wednesday at noon before the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA).
‘The project, known as Penn Treaty Village, was proposed by Core Realty to be built inside at the border of Fishtown and Northern Liberties under I-95, inside the former Ajax Metal Works and Dry Ice buildings at Delaware and Frankford avenues.
The ZBA ordered a continuance after a hearing in April at which three residents from nearby Allen Street protested the project due to parking concerns.
Those residents were represented by attorney Paul Boni. Boni declined to comment or provide further information about his clients’ opposition to the project.
Penn Treaty Village needs 10 variances to go forward, including a variance from the local zoning that prohibits nightclubs.
Members of the Fishtown Neighbors Association voted 86 to 25 in support of Penn Treaty Village in September 2012.
The ZBA will continue the hearing at 12 p.m., on Wednesday, May 15, at 1515 Arch St., on the eighth floor. ••
-Compiled by Sam Newhouse