Upper Holmesburg Civic to host European fall festival

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. ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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