Former community center will become a church

The pro­posed child day care cen­ter is out, while a non-de­nom­in­a­tion­al Chris­ti­an church is com­ing to the former North­east Com­munity Cen­ter on Holme Av­en­ue.

Holme Circle Civic As­so­ci­ation Pres­id­ent Elsie Stevens an­nounced dur­ing her group’s monthly meet­ing on Oct. 23 that Light­house Chapel will be one of the new ten­ants of the former com­munity cen­ter at 2840 Holme Ave. Mean­while, the day cen­ter op­er­at­or who was un­der agree­ment to lease part of the 18,000-square-foot build­ing has post­poned its open­ing in­def­in­itely due to li­cens­ing delays, Stevens said.

Light­house Chapel is a con­greg­a­tion of about 120 adults and 100 chil­dren based at 4910 Rhawn St. It is af­fil­i­ated with a multi-na­tion­al or­gan­iz­a­tion of the same name. Ac­cord­ing to the church’s web­site, its mis­sions in­cludes build­ing 25,000 churches in 150 coun­tries and “to pro­duce rad­ic­al Chris­ti­ans who work for God.” The Holme Av­en­ue site will host activ­it­ies on Wed­nes­days, Fri­days and Sundays, Stevens said. The con­greg­a­tion’s move-in date is un­known.

Neigh­bors of the former YMCA-style com­munity cen­ter com­plained about on­go­ing renov­a­tions at the 0.8-acre site. One man ques­tioned wheth­er as­bes­tos was be­ing re­moved from the build­ing prop­erly and com­plained about ex­posed elec­tric­al wires. Stevens said she would con­tact the own­er of the prop­erty for ex­plan­a­tions.

Tech­nic­ally, the site is not in the Holme Circle Civic As­so­ci­ation’s ter­rit­ory. It is just out­side of the civic group’s defined bound­ar­ies. The May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation is the Re­gistered Com­munity Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the site, ac­cord­ing to city re­cords.

In an un­re­lated neigh­bor­hood is­sue, a staff mem­ber of the Im­macu­late Mary Home at 2990 Holme Ave. re­por­ted that she is un­aware of any im­min­ent sale of the prop­erty. The Arch­diocese of Phil­adelphia re­cently in­cluded the home on a list of prop­er­ties it is look­ing to sell, but the nurs­ing home is op­er­at­ing as usu­al, said Justine Mer­lin, dir­ect­or of thera­peut­ic re­cre­ation and mar­ket­ing.

Stevens in­vited area res­id­ents to at­tend the ded­ic­a­tion of a new flag­pole and park benches at the his­tor­ic Thomas-Crispin Cemetery, on the 3000 block of Holme Ave., on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. Loc­al busi­nesses and the city’s De­part­ment of Parks and Re­cre­ation donated equip­ment and ser­vices to re­hab­il­it­ate the cemetery where Thomas Holme is bur­ied.

Stevens at­temp­ted to cla­ri­fy swirl­ing ru­mors of im­min­ent re­devel­op­ment at the “Stokes House,” a 19th-cen­tury stone farm­house and one-acre par­cel at 2976 Welsh Road. In 2010, the former own­er of the prop­erty, Buzz Stokes, ap­proached the civic group with a plan to de­mol­ish the house, sub­divide the land and build du­plex homes. Neigh­bors re­jec­ted the idea.

Stokes later sold the land to loc­al de­veloper John Par­sons, who con­trols it un­der a cor­por­ate name.

In re­cent weeks, neigh­bors have re­por­ted see­ing sur­vey­ors and util­ity crews at the prop­erty. One ru­mor spread that the du­plex pro­ject is back in play. But that was likely a ref­er­ence to Stokes’ failed 2010 plan. Stevens said she hopes to con­tact Par­sons about his fu­ture plans for the site.

In ad­di­tion to the prop­erty-re­lated is­sues, the civic as­so­ci­ation agenda in­cluded speeches by can­did­ates for dis­trict at­tor­ney, con­trol­ler and ju­di­cial seats. Res­id­ents heard from in­cum­bent D.A. Seth Wil­li­ams and his chal­lenger Daniel Al­varez; in­cum­bent Con­trol­ler Alan Butkovitz and an aide for his chal­lenger Terry Tracy; along with Mu­ni­cip­al Court hope­ful Mar­tin Cole­man and Com­mon Pleas Court can­did­ates Si­erra Thomas-Street and Gio­vanni Camp­bell.

An aide to City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on presen­ted the civic group with a $1,000 activ­it­ies grant and in­vited res­id­ents to Hen­on’s Fam­ily Play Day on Nov. 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. Bern­ard’s aud­it­or­i­um.

An aide to state Rep. Ed Neilson re­por­ted that the law­maker’s House Bill 198 passed un­an­im­ously among his col­leagues. The meas­ure changes the Pub­lic School Code to provide for a dys­lex­ia screen­ing pi­lot pro­gram.

Mean­while, state Rep. John Sabat­ina’s “home in­va­sion” bill also passed the House. If signed in­to law, it would strengthen the pen­al­ties for of­fend­ers con­victed of home in­va­sion-style crimes.

An aide to state Rep. Kev­in Boyle re­por­ted that the law­maker was suc­cess­ful in get­ting a road main­ten­ance crew to trim over­grown tree limbs and brush along Holme Av­en­ue. ••

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