Blight, litter and affordable housing – top residents’ concerns at Walnut Hill plan meeting

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Mike Lyons

Walnut Hill meeting

Residents rank priorities as part of drafting the Walnut Hill neighborhood plan last night at The Enterprise Center (Photo by Mike Lyons/West Philly Local).

A group of Walnut Hill residents met last night to put the finishing touches on a five-year plan that they hope will eliminate blight, improve local business and affordable housing opportunities and cut down on litter in the neighborhood.

The meeting was the final in a series of gatherings to create a plan that balances the demographic changes in the neighborhood in recent years with the needs and interests of long-time residents.

Walnut Hill’s borders are Market Street to the north, Spruce Street to the south, 52nd Street to the west and 45th Street to the east. The neighborhood’s population has changed a lot since the 2000 census. The number of white residents has risen from 12 to 23 percent and the number of African American residents has declined from 81 percent in 2000 to 67 percent in 2010, the year of the latest census. That number has probably dropped even further since then.  Continue Reading

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City approves large residential/commercial building at 43rd and Baltimore

Posted on 17 June 2015 by Mike Lyons

The proposed apartment complex at 43rd and Baltimore.

The proposed apartment complex at 43rd and Baltimore.

After weeks of delays, the city has approved the proposal for a large residential building at the corner of 43rd and Baltimore that will include a large restaurant overlooking Clark Park.

The planned glass and brick building at 4224 Baltimore Ave., which has been two years in the making and has included a half-dozen community meetings, will include 132 units, a mix of upscale rental apartments aimed at young professionals and condo units for sale. It also includes 65 underground parking spaces and 50 indoor bike parking spaces.

The Spruce Hill Community Association zoning committee, the Friends of Clark Park and the University City Historical Society all approved the plan, but the Zoning Board of Adjustment, the city governmental body that reviews zoning variances, narrowly approved the project 3-2, according to Plan Philly. Opponents argued that the proposed building, which required a zoning change to include a five-story wing, would be out of character with the rest of the block.  Continue Reading

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30th St. Station District Plan Open House this Wednesday

Posted on 16 June 2015 by


The first Open House for the 30th Street Station District Plan Open House took place on January 2 and was well attended. (Photo from

On Wednesday, June 17, there will be another opportunity to learn more about the 30th Street Station District Plan, a joint planning project for the area surrounding 30th Street Station. The second open house for the project will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the station’s Amtrak building (30th St entrance).

Nearly 300 people attended the first open house on January 28 and participated in a survey. This Wednesday, open house attendees can see results of the survey (click here for the summary).

There will also be opportunities to:

• Meet the project team
• Gain a better understanding of the plan
• View early design ideas and provide input
• Learn what’s next for the plan

The 30th Street Station District Plan is a joint effort by Amtrak, Drexel University, SEPTA, Brandywine Realty trust, and other public and private stakeholders. More information about the project is available at:

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Residents, business owners vow to save historic Powelton Village block from demolition

Posted on 21 May 2015 by Mike Lyons

It was standing room only last night as residents and business owners discussed the future of the 3600 block of Lancaster Avenue, one of the signature blocks in the Powelton Village neighborhood.

It was standing room only last night at the Community Education Center as residents and business owners discussed the future of the 3600 block of Lancaster Avenue, one of the signature blocks in the Powelton Village neighborhood (photo by West Philly Local).

Residents and business owners met in the Powelton Village neighborhood last night and vowed to take a stand against the possible demolition of the 3600 block of Lancaster Ave., a historic commercial block that stands in the shadows of glassy high rises encroaching on the neighborhood.

Known as the Lancaster Mews and built in the 1870s, the block of ground floor commercial and upstairs apartments on the south side of Lancaster Ave. is the latest neighborhood symbol of angst over rapidly increasing development in the neighborhood. The Powelton Village Civic Association (PVCA) has tried to stave off the rumored demolition of the block by having it added to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

The PVCA filed the application after it became known that AP Construction, which owns the block, reportedly began interviewing demolition firms.

“The threat of demolition was imminent,” Powelton Village Civic Association zoning chair George Poulin told the standing-room-only crowd of more than 100 people gathered at the Community Education Center last night. “We feel really really threatened by what we are seeing in the neighborhood.”  Continue Reading

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Community meeting tonight about future of 3600 block of Lancaster Ave

Posted on 20 May 2015 by


Lancaster Mews (photo from

Neighbors and all interested parties are invited this evening to learn more about the proposed demolition of Lancaster Mews, the redbrick apartment buildings and storefronts on the 3600 block of Lancaster Avenue, and discuss the future development of the block. This is a great opportunity to share your concerns about the proposed development. The meeting is hosted by Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and will take place starting at 6 p.m. at Community Education Center’s Meeting House Theatre (3500 Lancaster Ave).

In addition to apartments, Lancaster Mews also houses several businesses and a day care center. According to an article by The Philadelphia Inquirer published earlier this month, the block-long row of houses built in the late 1870’s may be demolished and replaced by apartment buildings aimed mostly at students.

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Blackwell aide, Southwest District Services under scrutiny; first lay principal at West Catholic and more in news roundup

Posted on 05 May 2015 by

Here’s a roundup of some of the latest news and events in the area.

First Lay Principal for West Catholic Preparatory High School


James P. Gallagher

The Office of Catholic Education of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (OCE) has recently announced the appointment of Mr. James P. Gallagher as Principal of West Catholic Preparatory High School in West Philadelphia effective July 1st. He is the first lay principal in the 98-year-old history of the school. Mr. Gallagher’s appointment follows the January 2015 announcement that Sister Mary Bur, IHM, will retire at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year after 21 years as principal and 27 total years of service to the school.

Mr. Gallagher holds his Masters of Education Degree in Curriculum, Instruction, Technology, and Education from Temple University. He has taught for several years at Lingelbach Elementary School for the School District of Philadelphia and most recently has worked as an Instructor of Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary Classroom at Saint Joseph’s University.  Continue Reading

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