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. ••