The former Northeast Community Center has a buyer who plans to bring a child daycare center and a meals on wheels program to the Holme Avenue site, according to Holme Circle Civic Association President Elsie Stevens.
Speaking during the HCCA’s monthly meeting last Wednesday at St. Jerome’s School, Stevens declined to name the buyer, citing his wish to remain anonymous until the sale has been confirmed. The buyer is “waiting for the title to clear,” Stevens said.
TD Bank owns the 1.2-acre site at 2840 Holme Ave., which features a 28,416-square-foot building that formerly served as a YMCA-style nonprofit community center. The previous owners lost the property to sheriff’s sale in 2012 after defaulting on a $1.1 million loan used to expand the building.
Last spring, a Huntingdon Valley-based development company owned by brothers Ravinder and Hardeep Chawla reportedly were in an agreement of sale for the former community center, but did not follow through with the deal because they could not identify prospective tenants. Stevens said at last week’s meeting that a child daycare facility will operate in one half of the building, while a “church-related” meals on wheels group will operate in the other half.
In an unrelated neighborhood issue, Stevens reported that the former Infant Jesus Convent on Holme Avenue next to Nazareth Hospital is now vacant. Nuns with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth who were living there have moved into a new, smaller convent. The religious order is trying to sell the old convent, but has not identified a potential buyer or future use.
Stevens reported some bad news and some good news regarding the Old Crispin Cemetery, which is next to the Crispin Gardens Athletic Club at Holme and Convent avenues. For the second time in recent months, vandals have removed or destroyed decorative shrubs planted there by volunteers. But the effort to beautify the site continues. According to Stevens, Home Depot has pledged to donate new shrubs, while Granger Industrial Supply has offered to donate a flag pole for the cemetery, Stevens said. And the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation has pledged to install the flag pole, along with two park benches, Stevens said. The work schedule has yet to be determined.
A theft problem has also befallen the neighborhood, according to the civic association president. In recent months, many area residents have complained that independent metal salvers or “scrappers” have stolen personal property from front yards, porches, driveways and garages. The crooks have stolen bicycles, metal wagons and, in at least one case, a pet cage, Stevens said.
The HCCA has teamed with the Mayfair Civic Association to fight the problem. The Mayfair group has created a Facebook page where residents can report suspicious activity they see in their neighborhoods, with photos and descriptions of suspected scrappers. The HCCA, meanwhile, has been distributing fliers to scrap metal collectors warning them that they are allowed to take only those items placed at the curb as trash and that they may be subject to prosecution if they steal or trespass on private property.
In other business, the HCCA elected new executive board members. Vince Banchi and Kate Brown will fill two vacant at-large board seats. Other board members include Stevens (president), Mike Gould (vice president), Betty Brown (recording secretary), Kristin Moore (corresponding secretary), Tom McCurdy (treasurer) and Matt Gabor (at-large).
State Rep. Ed Neilson reported that the Pennsylvania House is working on legislation to prevent cyber charter school operators from “double dipping” on publicly funded pension plans. Some cyber charter operators are collecting pensions as former public school teachers or administrators while collecting salaries through cyber charter schools. The Pennsylvania Senate has not acted on the legislation, Neilson said.
City Councilman Bobby Henon donated a $1,000 activities grant to the HCCA. His aide, Lisa Deeley, invited Sixth District residents to attend a Town Hall meeting with Henon and District Attorney Seth Williams on Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. at Lower Mayfair Playground, Robbins Avenue and Hawthorne Street. ••