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University City High School site demolition continues; plans still unclear

Posted on 29 January 2015 by Mike Lyons

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University City High School site purchased by Drexel (Click to enlarge).

Demolition of the former University City High School building is scheduled to begin in late February, but it is still unclear what Drexel University, which purchased the site from the school district last year, and their partner, Wexford, plan to do with the site.

Drexel had originally indicated that it hoped to build, among other things, a new public school on the site, which would help ease the sting felt by local residents from losing the high school and Charles Drew Elementary, which sat on the same 14-acre site. Demolition of Drew started earlier this month, and the Walnut Center has already been demolished.

“We are continuing our efforts to engage the community on the vision and plans to transform this site,” said Drexel spokesperson Niki Gianakaris.

She said the university plans to create a “mixed-use environment where the community and private sector will come together in a work, live and play environment.”

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Charles Drew Elementary demolition underway (Photo by Marina Krikorian).

Demolition is expected to be complete later this year, she said, adding that plans for the site had not been finalized.

As part of its bid to buy the property from the School District of Philadelphia last February, Drexel presented a plan during a public meeting that included an enlarged Powel Elementary School and a middle school on the site.

The plan also included residential housing and retail space.

The plan met with some skepticism among residents of the Mantua neighborhood, where many University City High School students lived. Several Powelton Village neighborhood residents who attended that meeting last February voiced approval of the possible expansion of Powel Elementary.

Mike Lyons

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License plate stolen off parked car near 44th and Pine (updated)

Posted on 29 January 2015 by WestPhillyLocal.com

A neighbor reports that someone recently stole a license plate from her car parked near 44th and Pine. She didn’t notice until cops pulled her over the next day. Here’s what she wrote us:

“I’m not sure if this is happening elsewhere around the neighborhood, but my license plate was stolen off my vehicle [Tuesday] night (after 7 pm), while parked on the 4400 block of Pine. I found out when I was pulled over this morning, and had to visit the station to make a police report, and now get a new plate. It’s not a huge expense, but definitely a hassle just the same…”

This type of theft used to be really popular, but not so much anymore, according to police.

And here’s an example of why plates get stolen (from a Facebook post by one of our readers):

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Public Open House tonight on 30th St Station area development plan

Posted on 28 January 2015 by WestPhillyLocal.com

Some changes are being planned for 30th Street Station and the area surrounding it, and if you’re interested to learn more about the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan, come to an open house at the station this Wednesday, from 4 to 7 p.m. The project team will be there to present the plan and answer your questions, including how you can get involved in the planning process. Some information boards will also be at the station for everyone to check out (see the flier below for more details about tonight’s event).

The 30th Street Station District Plan is a joint effort among Amtrak, Drexel University, SEPTA, and Brandywine Realty trust, and other public and private stakeholders. The Master Planning process involves three main elements of analysis: transportation, the station and associated facilities, and commercial opportunities. The planning process is expected to take about two years.

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Have extra Recyclebank points? Donate them to local schools

Posted on 28 January 2015 by WestPhillyLocal.com

If you’re a Recyclebank member (you accrue points through that sticker on recycling receptacle) and you have some extra points you don’t need, why not consider donating them to a local school? Two West Philly schools have been selected to participate in Recyclebank’s 2014-2015 Green Schools Program, which supports schoolchildren and educators’ efforts on making their schools and schoolyards greener. Recyclebank will turn the donated points into cash to fund the projects.

LeaHenry C. Lea Elementary (47th and Locust) is seeking support for their Rain Gardens project. “Lea students will be involved in the maintenance of the rain gardens and become active environmental stewards,” reads Lea’s message on the Recyclebank website. “The rain gardens will be used as focal point for environmental instruction at the school with regards to the water cycle and systems.” The rain gardens project is a part of the Greening Lea project. To read more about the project and to donate your points, go here. The school will receive $2,500 from Recyclebank if the goal is reached.

Belmont Charter School (40th and Brown) students have a chance to learn about growing plants and trees through its “Belmont Sprouts” program. The school is raising funds to build six raised beds, buy a fruit tree and several rain barrels. The funds from the Recyclebank program will help “complete the construction of our Belmont Sprouts garden and to host a special Mother’s Day Spring Planting event,” according to the project description. To read more about the project and to donate your points, go here. Belmont Charter will also receive $2,500 from Recyclebank for their project if the goal is reached.

 

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Keep an eye out for two missing persons in West Philly

Posted on 27 January 2015 by Mike Lyons

Police are asking for the community’s help to find two people who went missing in West Philly this week.

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Ashjakia Washington (from the Philly Police Blog). Click to enlarge.

Ashjakia Washington, 25, of the 5500 block of Chancellor Street was last seen at 5 p.m. on Jan. 22 on the 5300 block of Rising Sun Avenue.

According to police, Ashjakia is 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 80 pounds, with a very thin build, brown eyes, a medium brown complexion and short auburn/brown braids. She was last seen wearing light blue jeans with pink strings on sides, a black head scarf, and puffy turquoise hooded jacket.

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Otero Guillermo (from the Philly Police Blog). Click to enlarge.

Otero Guillermo, 69, is missing from his residence on the 4800 block of Pine Street. Otero is 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs 203 pounds, with brown eyes, and gray hair. He was last seen wearing a red coat with black shoulders, blue pants, and brown sandals. He is also missing a part of his finger on his right hand.

Police say Otero suffers from chronic mental illness, paranoid Schizophrenia, and diabetes.

Mike Lyons

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Public schools, city offices closed Tuesday due to snow storm (updated)

Posted on 26 January 2015 by WestPhillyLocal.com

All public and Archdiocesan schools in Philadelphia will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 27 due to the snow storm, and all after-school activities are canceled, according to the city government and School District of Philadelphia announcements released Monday night. City offices and courts will also be closed.

UPDATE: The latest estimate for snowfall during the overnight storm is 2 to 4 inches.

Stay tuned for more weather-related announcements.

 

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