Peace March, Social Change Symposium, and more MLK Day events/volunteer projects in West Philadelphia

January 17, 2019

On August 3rd 1965, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at 40th and Lancaster during a Freedom Now Rally in front of a crowd of 10,000 people. The Peace March ended there in 2018 with speeches from community leaders. (Photo courtesy of People’s Emergency Center).

Beginning this weekend, local universities and other non-profit organizations will be hosting many events, for adults and children alike, and volunteer projects in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Most of the events are happening on the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 21.

Here are some of these events; more events in the area from now through Monday can be found at this link. Continue Reading

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Iron Stone and Walnut Hill Community Association near agreement on 4601 Market St. project

January 18, 2019

Walnut Hill residents got a chance on Thursday to ask the proposed developers of the Provident Insurance Co. building at 4601 Market Street what benefits the neighborhood would get from the healthcare campus planned for the site.

Iron Stone Real Estate Partners execs presented their plans for the building at a Walnut Hill Community Association meeting aimed at finalizing a “community benefits agreement,” a contract that would reflect community requests on everything from hiring practices to parking to the use of green space in development projects that get public subsidies.  Continue Reading

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Developers to talk about future of former Provident Insurance building at 46th and Market at Thursday’s Walnut Hill zoning meeting

January 16, 2019

Last month, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell halted a vote in City Council on the sale of the former Provident Mutual Life Insurance building to local real estate developer Iron Stone, who had proposed to convert the site at 46th and Market into a public health campus. This Thursday, Jan. 17, Iron Stone representatives will talk about the future of the site at a zoning meeting organized by the Walnut Hill Community Association.

Community members are invited to attend the meeting and voice their opinions.

The meeting will take place at the Enterprise Center (4548 Market St), beginning at 6 p.m.


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Girl Scout cookie sales begin this week (updated)

January 14, 2019

The girl scout cookie season is here! Starting Thursday, Jan. 17, local girl scout troops (Junior 91143, Brownie 93273, and Daisy 91569) will be selling cookies Monday through Friday, 4-6 p.m. for a couple of weeks (or until they run out) at the following locations:

• 34th & Walnut
• Locust Street between 43rd and 42nd (between Penn Alexander School and the Parent Infant Center)

Boxes are $4 each, except $5 for gluten-free cookies. Large amounts can be delivered. Please email: if you have questions and to place your order.

Cedar Park residents are welcome to stop by VIX Emporium (50th and Baltimore), which will also be selling girl scouts cookies beginning this Thursday. Check out the store hours here.

In the past few years, girl scout cookies were also available for sale at The Fresh Grocer at 40th and Walnut. We’ll keep you posted about more locations.


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West Philly Skills Initiative seeking new participants in landscaping job training program

January 10, 2019

Unemployed West Philly residents are invited to participate in a job training program with University City District’s West Philadelphia Skills Initiative.

The nationally-recognized program is partnering with Brightview Landscapes to offer positions as landscape crew members. Goal-oriented and motivated individuals who have experience working in landscaping, labor, outdoor work, and related fields are welcome to apply for the program.

Program participants will receive a generous, performance-based stipend and an opportunity to interview for open positions in the area. Over 90 percent of program graduates find employment.  Continue Reading

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UCD issues crime alert after two gunpoint robberies

January 9, 2019

Two armed robberies have been reported in the University City area in the past few days, according to a crime alert issued by University City District’s Division of Public Safety. One robbery took place around 7:40 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4 on the 4600 block of Ludlow, and the second occurred on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 9:30 p.m. on Farragut near Walnut Street. In both cases, iPhones were taken from pedestrians walking at night.

Both UCD Public Safety Ambassadors and Philadelphia Police will have an increased presence in the area, according to the report.  Continue Reading

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14-year-old boy Xavier Brower missing in West Philadelphia (updated)

January 8, 2019

UPDATE (1/9/2019): Xavier has been found safe, according to police.

(1/8/2019): Police are asking for the public’s assistance to locate a missing endangered person. Xavier Brower, 14, was last seen on Friday, Jan. 4 at 3 p.m. on the 5000 block of Ludlow Street.

He is six foot one, 185 pounds, has brown eyes and black hair. He was wearing black sweatpants, a black t-shirt, and a coat.

Anyone with any information on Xavier’s whereabouts is asked to contact Southwest Detective Division at 215-686-3183 or 911.

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SHCA monthly board meeting to discuss affordable housing (updated)

January 7, 2019

The Spruce Hill Community Association (SHCA) monthly board meeting will be held this Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Spruce Hill Center (257 S. 45th Street). All community members are invited and welcome to attend.

The guest speaker at this month’s meeting is Nicole Ozdemir from the City Planning Commission. She will join SHCA members to talk about the city’s efforts regarding affordable housing. This will be an informational discussion to educate and update the board on the city’s mixed-income affordable housing bill and related initiatives. Regular committee reports will follow.

Affordable housing is becoming a big problem for Philadelphia, especially in gentrifying neighborhoods like Spruce Hill.

It was reported last month that Mission First Housing Group, one of the largest providers of affordable housing in the city, decided to move ahead with their plans to sell the Arvilla apartment building on the 4500 block of Osage Avenue and elicited protests from neighbors.

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Application open for 2019 Grave Gardeners program

January 7, 2019

Photo courtesy of The Woodlands.

Do you want to learn how to tend to planters and help beautify a historical cemetery in West Philly? The Woodlands is currently accepting applications for their 2019 Grave Gardeners program.

The Grave Gardeners are a group of volunteers who are each assigned a “cradle grave” at The Woodlands. These graves were originally designed to be planters and would have been planted and cared for by loved ones in the Victorian era. The Grave Gardeners tend to their assigned cradle grave throughout the entire growing season, from March to November. A wide variety of plant material will be provided to gardeners by The Woodlands. Group workshops, demonstrations, and planting happy hours are also scheduled throughout the season.  Continue Reading

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Christmas tree recycling opportunities

January 2, 2019

Photo courtesy of UCD.

If you’re looking for environmentally friendly ways to dispose of your Christmas tree, there are a few options available in the area.

Philadelphia Streets Department’s Christmas Tree Recycling Program

As part of this annual program, now through January 12th, residents may drop off their trees at any of the following Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers (Monday through Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.):  Continue Reading

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What to do on New Year’s Eve/ New Year’s Day

December 28, 2018

If you’re looking for something to do on New Year’s Eve and/or New Year’s Day, check out events below, plus some useful information on SEPTA service during these days.

There will be two New Year’s Eve fireworks shows on the Delaware River waterfront – at 6 p.m. and midnight. There are several locations where you can watch the show, including Penn’s Landing, Race Street Pier, and more. For more details, go here.

SEPTA will have enhanced New Year’s Eve service on Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines on New Year’s Eve:  Continue Reading

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Holiday closings, hours, schedule changes (updated)

December 21, 2018

Clark ParkStaying in town for the holidays? Check out holiday hours for selected businesses, as well as SEPTA’s and City holiday schedules. We’ll update the list below when more information becomes available. If you’re a business and want to add your hours, please feel free to do so in the comments. Happy Holidays!


Dec. 24: City transit routes will operate on a Modified Weekday schedule.
Dec. 25: Buses, trains, and trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule due to the holiday.
Dec. 26 – 28: Buses, trains, and trolleys will operate on a Modified Weekday schedule due to the holiday
Jan. 1: Buses, trains, and trolleys will operate on a Sunday schedule due to the holiday.  Continue Reading

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Millcreek Tavern to be replaced by residential building

December 19, 2018

The Millcreek Tavern at 42nd and Chester Ave. will soon be gone and a five-story, 42-unit residential building aimed at students could soon take its place.

Developers pitched a preliminary plan to the Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee on Monday night for the building, which would require variances for height and number of units. Representatives of Core Development told the committee that they purchased the building about 10 days ago, are in the “very early conceptual stages” and have yet to apply for the variances.  Continue Reading

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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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