Former NE Community Center could become a child daycare

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. ••

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