This is one of those good news-bad news stories.
The bad news is that the Gibbons PAL Center on the 6900 block of Rising Sun Avenue is looking for a new home. The good news is that PAL might have some time to find a new location for the center and the 2,500 kids it serves.
Gibbons has operated out of Trinity Church Oxford’s parish house since 1969 — more than 45 years, Lt. William Eddis, PAL commander, said June 2. The more than 300-year-old Episcopalian church wants to develop its property at 6901 Rising Sun, the lieutenant said, so PAL will have to leave the building that it now uses. Not now, but not too much later.
All a shame, Eddis said. “We like it there, and the community liked it there,” he said June 2.
The lieutenant said he believes the church’s development plans have slowed, so there’s now a proposal to extend PAL’s lease to June 30, 2015. Attempts to contact the church’s pastor were unsuccessful.
PAL’s closing has been a neighborhood topic since it was announced last year.
Cindy Ambrose thought Gibbons was closing this month and that the June 3 softball game at the field would be her 7-year-old granddaughter Madison’s last for PAL, and she was glad to hear that might not be so.
That leaves the big question of where the PAL center will be next summer?
Does anybody out there know of a good space PAL can use not too far from the 6900 block of Rising Sun?
The lieutenant said there are three basic requirements for a PAL center: a basketball court, preferably with a high ceiling; rooms to set up a homework program and for an office for the officer who supervises the center; and bathrooms on the same floor as the court and those other rooms.
Gibbons’ current location has an extra — a small field between the church, which is off Oxford Avenue, and its two other buildings. But the lieutenant said no field is not a deal-breaker.
Not many PAL centers have fields, he said.
Gibbons PAL has been a neighborhood fixture, and the cop who keeps it operating has been there for more than two decades. Officer Anthony D’Aulerio, who’s run Gibbons for 22 years, has seen some of the people who came to the center as children bring their own kids in to sign up for softball, soccer, golf, girls gymnastics and other programs.
He said he hopes a new location can be found in the same neighborhood, but a little to the north would be better than a little to the south, an area that feeds into a new PAL center that operates out of the Glading Memorial Presbyterian Church in Oxford Circle.
PAL also has been looking for more than a year for a home for its Frankford center, which closed in late 2012 because the city-owned building it occupied was in bad shape. Anyone with a location to suggest for either center should contact Lt. William Eddis at 215-291-9000, Ext. 116. ••