The Upper Holmesburg Civic Association is planning to celebrate its 10th anniversary with a European-style fall festival that would double as a fundraiser for the group.
UHCA President Stan Cywinski announced during the group’s June 19 meeting that it will host Octoberfest on Saturday, Oct. 4, at St. Dominic’s Marian Hall, 8532 Frankford Ave. The public is invited to enjoy a buffet dinner of homemade seasonal food, along with entertainment, drinks and games of chance. Proceeds will directly benefit the civic association, which seeks to boost its legal fund in preparation for future zoning and land-use cases.
Tickets for the event cost $25 each or $200 for a table of 10. They are available by calling Cywinski at 215-990-8128 or visiting DeFinis State Auto Body at 8305 Torresdale Ave. Admission includes the buffet, beer, wine, soft drinks and musical entertainment. Tickets for raffle baskets cost $10 for a sheet of 25.
The civic association still seeks donations of gift baskets or money from businesses and individuals. Contact Cywinski for information.
• In other UHCA business, Recording Secretary Nancy Quinn announced the nominations for the group’s officer and executive board positions. Another round of nominations will be held at the group’s September meeting, followed immediately by the election. The nominees include Cywinski for president, Tom Geisler for vice president, Quinn for recording secretary and Paul DeFinis for zoning chairman. There are no nominees for treasurer. The board nominees include Crystal Eiswert, DeFinis, Pete Montini, Lynn Gregory, Paul Gonsiewski and Bernadette Giles. Two additional board positions are available. Officer and board terms are one year.
• The civic group elected to table a vote on a local trucking industry business’ proposal for a new sign overlooking Interstate 95. The Great Dane Trailers yard is at 4800 Pennypack St., just east of Torresdale Avenue and west of the interstate. The business plans to erect a 40-foot-tall sign with an oval-shaped, red facade featuring an image of a great Dane. The oval would be 11 feet tall and 14 feet wide.
According to representatives of the business, the city’s zoning code allows for a sign 20 feet in height with a total area of 100 square feet. The Great Dane sign must be taller because of adjacent trees and a railroad that distances the trailer yard from the highway.
The yard is on a dead-end commercial street with no homes nearby. Some UHCA members said they see no reason to object to the sign, but Cywinski cautioned that the sign might discourage future redevelopment of nearby properties for non-commercial uses such as an educational institution.
The civic association plans to revisit the issue at a later meeting.
• Cywinski reported that the civic association has received no new information about the proposed redevelopment of the former Liddonfield Homes public housing site at Torresdale Avenue and Megargee Street, although a June 30 deadline looms for the sale of the property from the Philadelphia Housing Authority to a private developer.
The civic group leader understands that the sale hinges on approval by the federal Office of Housing and Urban Development and that the would-be developer is required to submit to HUD a letter of community support for the project. The civic association has requested to see detailed plans of the proposed development, but those plans have not been finalized, according to Cywinski. In concept, the developer has proposed a mix of uses including athletic fields (for future use by Holy Family University), along with retail businesses and housing for low-income seniors.
Neighbors don’t know what might happen to the former public housing project if the June 30 deadline expires without a sale. Cywinski told residents to watch for meeting notices in the Northeast Times in case the UHCA must call for an emergency session during the summer.
In the meantime, neighbors have complained repeatedly about PHA’s lack of maintenance for the site. Trees have fallen and damaged perimeter fencing. Weeds have grown to several feet tall. Nearby residents fear that the conditions have become a haven for wild animals and pests. Some residents saw a crew working there early last week, when perimeter weeds were trimmed. But the interior of the property appears untouched.
• The next UHCA meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at St. Dominic’s Marian Hall. ••