State Sen. Mike Stack has requested that Gov. Tom Corbett allocate funding from the state’s 2014 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program toward the former site of the Liddonfield Homes.
Stack aide Juvencio Gonzalez reported during last Thursday’s meeting of the Upper Holmesburg Civic Association that Stack had sent a letter to Corbett requesting a portion of $300 million in available grant money to support development of a Holy Family University satellite campus on the former public housing complex at Torresdale Avenue and Megargee Street. The governor’s budget office administers the RACP fund.
According to the RACP website, the fund is intended for the “acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.”
The budget office is accepting business plans as part of the RACP’s “2014 Round 1 submission window.” The deadline is Feb. 7.
On Dec. 23, Corbett announced the allocation of $133 million for 58 projects as part of the 2013 RACP.
Liddonfield was once the site of more than 400 apartment units for low-income residents. The complex was razed in 2011. The Philadelphia Housing Authority owns the site but has agreed to sell it to a development partnership led by AP Construction and BSI Construction, which are working with Holy Family. The sale is pending federal Housing and Urban Development approval.
The redevelopment plan calls for retail businesses and university residences along Torresdale Avenue, an assisted-living complex for seniors at the rear of the property along Cottage Street and university athletic facilities on the interior of the tract along Megargee Street. The project is expected to generate 500 jobs, Gonzalez said.
The Upper Holmesburg Civic Association supports the plan. UHCA zoning chairman Paul DeFinis said during the civic meeting that the group’s board members do not expect the leadership change at Holy Family to affect the development plan. The university’s longtime president, Sister Francesca Onley, announced her retirement on Jan. 13.
In other Upper Holmesburg business, board member Tom Geisler reported that the 8th Police District Advisory Council is interested in hearing residents’ public safety complaints. Geisler is the civic group’s liaison to the PDAC, which is a board of community leaders that meets privately with local police monthly to discuss local crime issues.
Neighbors complained about an increase in vehicle speeding and accidents on Megargee Street near Ditman Street, suspicious foot traffic along Enfield Avenue and suspected drug activity near Blakiston and Ditman streets.
UHCA Vice President Bob Hall reported that residents who qualified for the $30,000 Homestead Exemption on their real estate taxes last year will not have to reapply for the exemption this year unless they have made changes to their property deeds.
UHCA President Stan Cywinski reported that the civic group is planning to establish a charity committee that will attempt to identify and offer help to local families who have fallen on hard times. ••