Civic group discusses new businesses headed to Parkwood

There was a good turnout for last week’s Park­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing, and res­id­ents en­joyed a packed and fast-paced agenda that in­cluded in­form­a­tion about the new Wal­mart open­ing in Frank­lin Mills, a loc­al church’s push for vo­lun­teers for neigh­bor­hood pro­jects, the Frank­lin Mills Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil, the Park­wood Shop­ping Cen­ter, the city’s Plan­ning Com­mis­sion, van­dal­ism at the Dec­atur School and the open­ing of Ben­jamin Rush State Park next month.

Forty-nine Park­wood res­id­ents at­ten­ded the as­so­ci­ation’s May 21 ses­sion, ac­cord­ing to Marge Phil­ippi, the new pres­id­ent. Four­teen fam­il­ies joined the or­gan­iz­a­tion that night, too, she said.

First up, mem­bers of Beth­el, the church at Frank­lin Mills, talked up their quest to sign up 900 vo­lun­teers to work on com­munity pro­jects like park and woods cleanups. The church star­ted en­list­ing vo­lun­teers to work in the neigh­bor­hood about five years ago. In­form­a­tion can be found at and click­ing on SHINE at the bot­tom right.

Also at the May 21 meet­ing:

• Al­lan McWer­thy, man­ager of the new Wal­mart at 1 Frank­lin Mills Blvd., said the re­tail su­per­cen­t­er store will be opened to the pub­lic on Sept. 24. He said the Phil­lie Phanat­ic will be there and “there will be tons of giveaways.” He said the store will have a big­ger phar­macy as well as a vis­ion cen­ter. And, he said, Wal­mart is look­ing to hire 300 em­ploy­ees. Be­fore leav­ing, he left 10 $10 gift cards that were dis­trib­uted through a draw­ing dur­ing the meet­ing at St. An­selm’s Church on Dunks­ferry Road.

• Jim Jef­fries of the Frank­lin Mills Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil told mem­bers about the form­a­tion of his group when the old Liberty Bell race track was trans­formed in­to the com­mer­cial prop­erty that be­came Frank­lin Mills. Neigh­bor­hood res­id­ents dec­ades ago agreed to needed zon­ing changes on the con­di­tion that the mall’s own­ers provide fin­an­cial sup­port to the com­munity. The res­ult was the loc­al seni­or cen­ter and two neigh­bor­hood gyms, he said. 

Each year, the ad­vis­ory coun­cil dis­trib­utes $80,000 to loc­al or­gan­iz­a­tions that fit the cri­ter­ia that they are in the 19154 ZIP code and serve sports and seni­or cit­izen groups. The next present­a­tion of funds will be June 4, he said.

Phil­ippi said three Park­wood res­id­ents are mem­bers of the ad­vis­ory coun­cil and re­ques­ted that they at­tend the civic as­so­ci­ation’s meet­ings.

• The Kor­man Cor­por­a­tion’s Arnold Lurie talked about the oc­cu­pancy rate at the Park­wood Shop­ping Cen­ter, which he put at 80 per­cent. “It’s a tough mar­ket,” said Lurie, Kor­man’s dir­ect­or of com­mer­cial op­er­a­tions. “The re­main­ing stores are large size .. and the pick­ings [of pos­sible ten­ants] are slim.” He said the com­pany would like to at­tract res­taur­ants and pos­sibly a dol­lar store. The com­pany is not seek­ing to loc­ate a tav­ern in the shop­ping cen­ter, he said.

• City Plan­ner Kath­leen Lam­bert told mem­bers that the Park­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation was now a re­gistered com­munity or­gan­iz­a­tion. 

RCOs, as they’re called, of­ten ex­am­ine zon­ing ques­tions with­in their bor­ders and make re­com­mend­a­tions to the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment.

Lam­bert said she would look in­to com­plaints that con­struc­tion of a new trail along the Poquess­ing Creek that would link Jun­od rec cen­ter to Ben­jamin Rush State Park at Southamp­ton and the Boulevard was caus­ing flood­ing in the area. John Del­Ricci, the as­so­ci­ation’s new vice pres­id­ent, ad­ded that con­struc­tion debris is be­ing il­leg­ally dumped in the woods. So-called “short dump­ing” has been a prob­lem in Phil­adelphia for dec­ades. Con­tract­ors, in­stead of pay­ing dump­ing fees, load up their trucks and un­load debris in any quiet, out-of-the-way spots they can find.

Del­Ricci said he’s seen sid­ing and shingles dumped in the woods near the trail.

• Phil­ippi said Del­Ricci has agreed to be the civic’s rep­res­ent­at­ive on the 8th Po­lice Dis­trict Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil. The PDAC’s mem­ber­ship is not open to the gen­er­al pub­lic. Mem­bers rep­res­ent oth­er or­gan­iz­a­tions and bring neigh­bor­hood con­cerns to po­lice com­mand­ers while re­turn­ing to their groups with loc­al crime stat­ist­ics and news of crime-fight­ing strategies.

• Mem­bers of the Steph­en Dec­atur Home and School As­so­ci­ation re­por­ted that van­dals re­cently sprayed ob­scene graf­fiti on the school, but that it was quickly re­moved from the Academy Road build­ing. Teen­age drink­ing re­mains a prob­lem over week­ends, with par­ents and staffers of­ten find­ing beer bottles lit­ter­ing school prop­erty on Monday morn­ings.

• Phil­ippi an­nounced that the grand open­ing of the im­proved Ben­jamin Rush State Park will be at 11 a.m. on June 12 at the park’s Southamp­ton Road and the Boulevard en­trance. ••

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