Neighborhood news in brief for the week of Feb. 19

A vi­ol­ent rob­bery, job ex­pan­sion at a loc­al port and oth­er neigh­bor­hood news in brief.

Rich­mond Street clos­ure post­poned again

The Pennsylvania De­part­ment of Trans­port­a­tion today an­nounced a new date for the two-year Rich­mond Street clos­ure to be­gin: Thursday, Feb. 20.

Snowstorms forced the pro­ject to be post­poned twice, on Jan. 23 and Feb. 3.

The de­tour is part of a con­struc­tion pro­ject in­volving four new over­head Con­trail bridges and a sew­er main re­place­ment. Rich­mond Street will be de­toured between Le­high Av­en­ue and Cam­bria Street, PennDOT said.

The de­tour will take traffic on Rich­mond Street over Le­high Av­en­ue, Ara­mingo Av­en­ue and Al­legheny Av­en­ue. Rich­mond Street will be re­built on a new align­ment to the east of the ex­ist­ing road­way to make room for a new ramp and oth­er im­prove­ments on I-95, PennDOT said.

The fin­ished pro­ject will in­clude two through lanes, a cen­ter turn lane, tracks for SEPTA’s Route 15 trol­ley, north­bound and south­bound bi­cycle lanes, side­walks and dec­or­at­ive street lights, ac­cord­ing to PennDOT.

The con­struc­tion is part of a $91 mil­li­on pro­ject to im­prove the I-95/Gir­ard Av­en­ue In­ter­change. The pro­ject is sched­uled to fin­ish in early 2016, PennDOT said.

For more in­form­a­tion on the I-95 im­prove­ments in the area of the Gir­ard Av­en­ue In­ter­change, vis­it www.95re­

Two shot in rob­bery

Two men were hos­pit­al­ized after a rob­bery just north­east of Port Rich­mond.

The in­cid­ent took place around 1:30 a.m. the 3700 block of Frank­ford Av­en­ue out­side of the King Garden Chinese take-out res­taur­ant, ac­cord­ing to 6ABC.

The vic­tims, 29 and 25 years old, were ap­proached by two gun­men, who shot the men in the neck and made off with $40, po­lice said.

The men were taken to Temple Hos­pit­al where they are lis­ted in crit­ic­al but stable con­di­tion, CB­S3 Eye­wit­ness News said. The sus­pects fled the scene. No ar­rests have been made at this time, po­lice said. ••

Pro­gress in blight fight

A Re­in­vest­ment Fund study found that Phil­adelphia’s prac­tice of fin­ing neg­li­gent prop­erty own­ers has had an im­pact in fight­ing blight, ac­cord­ing to a art­icle.

Phil­adelphia’s “win­dows and doors” law re­quires prop­er­ties in mostly oc­cu­pied blocks to have work­ing doors and win­dows, and a state law passed in 2010 helped give the city an even great­er abil­ity to fight blight, ac­cord­ing to the art­icle.

The De­part­ment of Li­censes & In­spec­tions has been fin­ing own­ers whose prop­er­ties have boarded up or miss­ing win­dows or doors.

The own­ers may have to pay $300 each day they are out of com­pli­ance. The fines and the pos­sib­il­ity of be­ing taken to “blight court” has re­portedly scared slum lords in­to com­pli­ance.

The study iden­ti­fied about 25,000 va­cant prop­er­ties, most of which were in North Cent­ral Phil­adelphia. Port Rich­mond was one of the neigh­bor­hoods iden­ti­fied as hav­ing the highest num­ber of cita­tions. ••

380 new jobs at port

Fib­ria Ce­lu­lose S.A., a Brazili­an pulp and pa­per com­pany, an­nounced that it will move its ship­ping op­er­a­tions to the Tioga Mar­ine Ter­min­al in Port Rich­mond, cre­at­ing 380 jobs.

State Sen. Mike Stack praised the move in a press re­lease last week. “We have been work­ing to make sure Tioga Mar­ine Ter­min­al re­mains one of the world’s best fa­cil­it­ies and this an­nounce­ment is con­firm­a­tion that the ef­fort is pay­ing off,” he said.

The com­pany’s ship­ping op­er­a­tions were pre­vi­ously loc­ated in the Port of Bal­timore. The move is ex­pec­ted to cre­ate $40 mil­lion in ad­di­tion­al eco­nom­ic activ­ity, ac­cord­ing to Stack’s state­ment. ••

East Kens­ing­ton rob­ber­ies

Po­lice have ar­res­ted and charged two men after two rob­ber­ies in East Kens­ing­ton.

The first in­cid­ent happened at 2100 Ser­geant St. on Fri­day, Feb. 7, at 10:55 p.m., ac­cord­ing to a po­lice spokes­per­son. An 18-year-old male was walk­ing east­bound on Ser­geant Street when he was struck on his neck and held up at gun­point by the sus­pect, 21-year-old Lonny Bur­ton of the 4100 block of Par­rish Street. Bur­ton told the vic­tim to get on the ground and sur­render his be­long­ings. He made off with a light­er and head­phones. Bur­ton was later stopped by po­lice and charged with rob­bery.

The second in­cid­ent oc­curred in­side a store on the 2500 block of Frank­ford Av­en­ue at 3:25 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9. The male sus­pect, 58-year-old John Hart of the 2100 block of E. Tuck­er Street, asked for two packs of ci­gar­ettes, then claimed he for­got his cred­it card and left the store with the two items. He then punched a wo­man when she ap­proached him, po­lice said. Tuck­er was ar­res­ted and charged with ag­grav­ated as­sault and rob­bery re­lated charges. ••

Bi­cycle flash­er

A 25-year-old wo­man was walk­ing on the 2400 block of Martha Street in East Kens­ing­ton—just a block from the Hor­a­tio B. Hack­ett School—when a man on a bi­cycle rode up next to her and ex­posed him­self, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice bul­let­in.

The in­cid­ent took place at 5:30 p.m. on Tues­day, Feb. 11. The man was in his mid-20s, thin, white or Latino, wear­ing all black cloth­ing and a hooded sweat­shirt and rid­ing a black BMX-style bike. ••

PYT to ex­pand

The own­er of PYT, a res­taur­ant in the Piazza at Schmidt’s in North­ern Liber­ties, is plan­ning to ex­pand in­to fran­chises as early as next year, ac­cord­ing to Mi­chael Klein of

“Ima­gine sev­er­al hun­dred PY­Ts in air­ports, malls and cit­ies,” said Dan Rowe of fran­chise de­vel­op­ment com­pany Frans­mart, who will guide the ex­pan­sion.

En­tre­pren­eur Tommy Up signed a fran­chising deal with Rowe, who has already been con­tac­ted by people who are in­ter­ested in buy­ing in, ac­cord­ing to the art­icle. The pop­u­lar res­taur­ant and bar spe­cial­izes in their unique se­lec­tion of bur­gers and shakes.

Fran­chises will be awar­ded this sum­mer, with open­ings pro­jec­ted for as early as next year. Up also has plans to open more com­pany-owned PY­Ts in Philly. ••

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