Neighbors protest Arvilla sale; owners say deal nearly final

December 18, 2018

The non-profit owners of the Arvilla, an affordable housing building on the 4500 block of Osage Avenue, insisted on Monday that they will go through with the sale of the building despite pleas from some residents and neighbors.

Representatives of Mission First Housing Group, one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the city, said during a Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) zoning meeting that it can’t afford the necessary renovations required to maintain the 14-unit building and will go through with a sale that will likely convert the building to market-rate apartments.

“The costs of modernizing the building are much higher than we can cover,” Mission First’s Director of Business Development Mark Deitcher said. “We have to pull the plug on the building because of the capital needs of the building.”  Continue Reading

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Spirited Tattoo eyes new location on Baltimore Ave. Zoning meeting this Tuesday (updated)

December 17, 2018

UPDATE: Cedar Park Neighbors (CPN) will hold a monthly community zoning meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 18, beginning at 7:30 p.m. One of the proposals to be discussed at the meeting is Spirited Tattooing Coalition’s move to 4912 Baltimore Ave. from their current location at 4918 Baltimore. A zoning variance is required for this application because the proposed use of the space is prohibited within 500 feet of a school, public park, churches, and residential district.

Spirited Tattooing Coalition opened in 2015.  Continue Reading

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Holiday Toy Drive at Nesting House; other ways to help neighbors in need

December 17, 2018

                Click to enlarge

This holiday season, some West Philly businesses and organizations are holding drives to support neighbors in need. Earlier this month, we announced the annual Holiday Basket Drive organized by Cedar Park neighbors. You can still donate or volunteer for this event. Please go here for more information.

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, the Nesting House’s West Philly shop, located at 45th and Baltimore, is hosting a holiday toy drive for kids in a local Women Against Abuse shelter. Please bring an unwrapped toy or book to the store and enjoy a holiday music concert and play group. The event begins at 4 p.m. (see the flier for more information).  Continue Reading

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Spruce Hill Zoning: Developers eye Millcreek Tavern; Mission First to explain impending sale of Arvilla Apartments near 45th and Osage

December 16, 2018

Community residents will have a chance to learn more about two development proposals during a Spruce Hill Community Association Zoning Committee meeting on Monday, Dec. 17, including the proposed sale of an affordable housing building.

The two main agenda items are:

7 p.m.: A development proposal to replace Millcreek Tavern at 42nd and Chester with residential housing will be discussed. This is not an official zoning meeting, just a presentation of intent with an opportunity for neighbors to offer comments and ask questions.  Continue Reading

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Blackwell halts sale of 4601 Market St.

December 14, 2018

The proposal to convert the Provident Mutual Insurance Co. site at 46th and Market into a healthcare campus hit a major roadblock on Thursday when Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell halted a vote on legislation that would have allowed the city to sell the property.

The move followed a contentious public meeting in West Philly on Tuesday where several community members spoke against the proposal, which the city selected this summer after a bidding process. Criticisms included the low sale price of $10 million and a lack of transparency in the bid selection process.  Continue Reading

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‘Jolly’ trolleys hit the rails (updated)

December 13, 2018

Some of SEPTA’s trolleys have again been decorated with twinkling lights, festive wreaths, and shiny ornaments for the holiday season, putting commuters in that holly, jolly spirit. Two “jolly” trolleys are hitting the rails this month, thanks to operators Gary Mason and Dave Musgrave, who used hundreds of lights, yards of garland and tons of ornaments, all to make the season brighter for their passengers.

The festive trolleys can be found on the following routes:

• Trolley #9001, operating on Route 15, Tuesday-Friday from 12:24-10:49 a.m.
• Trolley #9055, operating on Route 36, Monday-Friday from 10:56 a.m.-8:40 p.m.  Continue Reading

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Calls for more transparency in sale of Provident building at 4601 Market

December 12, 2018

Residents criticized developers and city officials for a lack of transparency in the proposal to convert the city-owned Provident Mutual Life Insurance Co. building and surrounding land at 46th and Market into a campus focused on mental health services and child care during a public meeting on Tuesday night.

About 125 residents gathered in the auditorium of West Philadelphia High School at 49th and Chestnut for presentations from the developers, a city official handling the deal, and proposed tenants, which include the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania and the YMCA.

The city chose that plan earlier this year after a call for proposals. The call came after a long-anticipated plan proposed by former mayor Michael Nutter to move the police headquarters and related offices to the 13-acre site was scuttled by Mayor Jim Kenney, Nutter’s successor. The police headquarters, the Medical Examiner’s office and the 6th and 9th police districts will now move into the old Philadelphia Inquirer building at 400 N. Broad St..

That change and the city’s subsequent choice of this new proposal caught many residents off guard.

“People aren’t mad, they’re just tired of hearing a lot of things that they didn’t have any say in,” said one resident. “The process is defective.”  Continue Reading

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Help keep Clark Park clean and green in 2019

December 12, 2018

Carol Jenkins (left) gardening at Clark Park with Lisa McDonald Hanes and Susie Pierce, gardener volunteers. (Photos courtesy of Friends of Clark Park)

Editor’s Note: This post has been submitted by Anna Selfridge, Vice President of Friends of Clark Park.

If you’ve strolled through Clark Park this past summer, you might have noticed the rejuvenation of the gardens along the park’s sidewalks and borders. This welcome change was the result of the new Gardening Program at Friends of Clark Park. The program is headed by Carol Jenkins, who has lived on the border of the park for 30 years.

“Since I spend so much time in Clark Park, I felt I needed to do something when I saw wild trees growing up through flowering shrubs, and weeds taking over flower gardens,” she said.

Carol joined the Friends following her retirement from teaching at Temple University specifically to put her green thumb to work.  Continue Reading

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Learn more about sale/proposed development of former Provident Insurance building this Tuesday

December 10, 2018

West Philadelphia residents are invited  to discuss the proposed development of the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance campus at 46th and Market this Tuesday, Dec. 10, at West Philadelphia High School (49th and Chestnut). The meeting has been organized by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, who has expressed her concern over the way the City, which owns the 15-acre property at 4601 Market, is handling the campus’s sale and proposed development.

Iron Stone was named as a future developer of the building a few months ago after a selection process that took approximately a year. The Philadelphia-based real estate company is planning to transform the building and the surrounding land into a public health campus.  Continue Reading

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Holiday handmade gifts galore at The Rotunda this Sunday

December 7, 2018

Poster art by Yona Yurwit.

If you’re looking for unique, handmade holiday gifts, don’t miss this annual event at The Rotunda on 40th and Walnut. The holiday edition of West Craft Fest (formerly known as Go West! Craft Fest) will be back Sunday, Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Over 60 local makers will present artisan jewelry, functional ceramics, home wares, clothing, cards, candles, soaps, scents, sweets, toys, tinctures, treasures, ornaments, and works of art at the event.  Continue Reading

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University City population aging slightly, media home sale price tops 400K

December 6, 2018

Rent prices in the University City District leveled off, the number of home sales dropped by a third last year and the population got a little older, according to the annual “State of University City” report released yesterday.

The report covers everything from real estate development to population demographics to tree coverage in the area managed by the University City District (UCD). UCD roughly defines “University City” as the area bounded by the Schuylkill River to the east, 50th Street to the west, Market Street/Powelton Avenue/Spring Garden Street to the north and Woodland Avenue/University Avenue to the south.

Here’s what the report, which covers trends through 2017, shows in key areas:  Continue Reading

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Winter Express Shoppers’ Trolley (W.E.S.T.) to offer free rides on Baltimore & Lancaster Avenues this Saturday

December 4, 2018

Just in time for your holiday gift shopping, the Winter Express Shoppers’ Trolley (W.E.S.T.) will return Saturday (Dec. 8), 12-5 p.m., to offer free rides along Baltimore and Lancaster Avenues. This is a great opportunity to learn more about local businesses, meet the owners and explore gift shopping and dining opportunities on the avenues.

The trolley will stop at designated shopping and dining destinations, and businesses will welcome riders with specials, promotions and giveaways, like free seasonal beverages and festive baked goods. There will be great gift shopping opportunities, discounts, and more! Get your ticket stamped at listed businesses for a discount at each one (see the full list and map here). Continue Reading

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Arrest made in murder of four people in Cedar Park

November 30, 2018

Police have arrested a suspect in connection to the shooting death of four people, two men and two teenage women, in Cedar Park last week, according to reports. Jahlil Porter, 32, of the 200 block of E. Ashmead Street, was charged with murder, robbery, and other related charges. At least one other suspect is in custody, but had not been charged as of Thursday, Nov. 29.

The victims, identified by police as Tiyaniah Hopkins, 17, Yaleah Hall, 17, Akeem Mattox, 28, and William Taylor, 31, were found shot in the head “execution-style” in the basement of a residence on the 5100 block of Malcolm Street on Monday, Nov. 19 after a welfare call. Neighbors reported hearing banging sounds coming from the building, which was undergoing renovation, the day before.  Continue Reading

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Where to buy holiday wreaths & greens, Christmas trees

November 28, 2018

Holidays are approaching fast and if you’re looking for wreaths or greens to decorate your home, there will be a great opportunity this Saturday, Dec. 1. Bartram’s Garden in Southwest Philly (5400 Lindbergh Blvd.) is hosting its annual Handmade Holiday Greens Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can shop for decorated and undecorated wreaths, centerpieces, fresh evergreens, and more. You can also purchase ornamental greens and roping to create your own decorations for the holiday season.

If you’re looking to buy a Christmas tree, check out these locations in West Philly (some of them also sell holiday wreaths and greens):  Continue Reading

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Support local non-profits on #GivingTuesday

November 27, 2018

During this #GivingTuesday, the nationwide campaign encouraging charitable donations, we want to remind our readers about local not-for-profit organizations. Throughout the day, we’ll be posting messages from West Philly-based non-profits, encouraging folks to support them (see below). Please also check our “Civic Life” page for the list of local non-profits, including neighborhood community associations, arts and cultural organizations, libraries and educational organizations, animal rescues, historical venues, parks and public spaces, and more.  Continue Reading

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Cedar Park Neighbors’ Holiday Food Drive underway

November 26, 2018

The annual Holiday Basket Drive organized by Cedar Park Neighbors is back. This year, CPN will be partnering again with local nonprofits and various places of worship to provide food baskets to neighbors in need during this holiday season.

Last year, the organization was able to reach over 150 local families – a great testament to the community’s willingness to help others.

Just like last year, a suggested donation for this year’s drive is $36. Support at this level will provide baskets to two families. Donations can be made on this page. For other ways to donate (including bulk items), please email Michelle Lewis (  Continue Reading

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Four people found shot to death in Cedar Park (updated)

November 21, 2018

UPDATE (Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018): Police are still investigating the murder of four people, two men and two women, whose bodies were found Monday afternoon in the basement of a residence on the 5100 block of Malcolm Street in Cedar Park. All four were shot once in the head, according to police. The male victims, 28 and 31 years old, are reportedly cousins. One of the female victims is 20 years old, according to police. No names and no suspect information have been released as of 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Philadelphia Police Captain Derrick Wood tweeted shortly after the discovery of the victims that “it [was] the worst crime scene I have seen in my 20 years with the Philadelphia Police Department”:  Continue Reading

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Thanksgiving closings, hours, schedule changes

November 21, 2018

Here’s information on SEPTA’s Thanksgiving holiday service, city service changes, and closings/special hours at some local stores and cafés. Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.


• Buses, trains, and trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule on Thanksgiving Day.
• Broad Street and Market-Frankford Line trains will operate with all-night service beginning Thursday, Nov. 22 at 12:01 a.m. Regular Owl Bus service will resume Friday, Nov. 23 at 12:01 a.m.
• On Friday, Nov. 23, Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 15, 34, and 36 and several bus routes will operate on a Modified Weekday schedule.  Continue Reading

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Free health screenings offered at local CVS branches in December

November 19, 2018

West Philadelphia residents are invited to free health and wellness screenings that will take place in local CVS Pharmacy branches this December. The health assessment screenings include blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), glucose and total cholesterol screenings, which can help detect risk for chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

The screenings are part of Project Health, CVS’s annual series of free wellness screenings in the Greater Philadelphia area. Chronic conditions, which can often be life-threatening, can be treated very effectively when identified early. Participants can have their blood pressure, body mass index, glucose, and total cholesterol screened by a medical technician, and talk with a healthcare provider who will analyze results and refer patients to additional care as necessary. No appointment is necessary.  Continue Reading

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