MANAYUNK MORE BEAUTIFUL
The Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee (PMBC) is part of the Streets Department's Sanitation Division. It began 53 years ago as a community cleanup initiative. Over the years, it evolved into a partnership between city government and Block Captains and their organized blocks. PMBC has become the most workable approach to combating neighborhood grime with organized block cleaning and beautification. It has grown to be one of the largest volunteer organizations of its kind in the country.
The goals of PMBC are to organize, educate and encourage volunteers. PMBC is a partnership that promotes civic pride, public safety, and neighborhood vitality among the thousands of volunteers working to keep their communities and this city, clean and safe.
According to Bernie Strain, Associate Director of Community Services for Manayunk and Roxborough, there are only three Block Captains in the 21st Ward. With 6,500 Block Captains citywide, the 21st Ward is way behind. In an effort to enlist Block Captains, he provided us with Organizing Manuals and petitions for neighbors consent. They will be available at our February 4 meeting.
This program may be the solution to the quality of life problems that plague our neighborhood. If you wish to become a part of this unique partnership, please join us on February 4 or contact the Philadelphia More Beautiful Committee at (215) 685-3981.
Street & Walkways Education & Enforcement Program (SWEEP) is a City-run program created to educate Philadelphia citizens about their responsibilities under the Sanitation Code. SWEEP enforces the law through street patrols by uniformed officers, computerized tracking of code violations, and adjudication of violations. Through education and enforcement, SWEEP supports and enhances individual and community efforts to maintain a clean City.
SWEEP officers will work with residential communities to address problem locations. In cases of non-compliance, SWEEP officers will issue warnings and citations to the appropriate individuals.SWEEP is a comprehensive, centralized, and accessible resource for information about the Sanitation Code. Intensified patrols by SWEEP officers will increase awareness of the Sanitation Code, reduce the number of violations, and hold violators accountable, to make Philadelphia a cleaner and safer place for all to do business.
February 4, 2004, 7:30 PM
Venice Island Rec Center
Cotton St & Manayunk Canal,
Alan Lit, SWEEP
Alan Lomax, PMBC
WATER DEPT PROJECT
Architect Bob Thomas was hired by the Philadelphia Water Department as a community liaison for the building of a sewage overflow tank on Venice Island. He met with a few of us to explain the project.
Some local storm sewers combine with the sanitary sewers and flow to the sewage treatment facility. During heavy rain storms these sewers overflow dumping excess raw sewage into the Schuylkill River.
To meet clean water regulations, the City must build a tank to hold the overflow. During a storm, the tank will fill. When the storm subsides, the tank will drain back into the sewers The Lock Street parking lot on Venice Island is the site for this tank.
The preliminary design calls for a shallow tank about 100 ft wide by 500 ft long. It will operate by gravity. The top of the tank will be at ground level on the canal side of the lot. The tank will extend under part of the existing basketball court and hockey rink. A smaller, deeper tank is possible but would require a pumping station to empty the tank after a storm.
Money is available for improvements beyond the installation of the tank. This presents a chance to enhance the area. They are considering building a park, a parking garage, and a facility for recreational access to the river. Improvements to the Rec. Center are also possible.
Meetings with the community will be scheduled. There is not a blank check but we do have a chance to benefit from this project.
We met with Michele David of Cosmopolitan Home, a furniture store at 4161 Main Street. Mr. David purchased the building next door, at 4163 Main St. He plans to remodel the building and move the store.
His plans call for demolishing and rebuilding the facade. The design includes large windows extending to the second floor. Third floor windows and the top cornice will be retained.
Main Street is a historic district between Shurs Lane and Leverington Ave. Any changes must be approved by the Historical Commission. We, along with the architecture committee of the Commission, want the arched second floor windows preserved. Mr. David was due to appear before the Commission in January but requested a continuance.
We are concerned with the gradual erosion of the historic character that makes Main Street unique. Several buildings have been torn down and rebuilt with character more resembling Tucson, Arizona than historic Philadelphia.
Obnoxious renters at 4465 Silver- wood St. were successfully evicted by the landlord. The renters had been a plague to nearby residents for over a year. In September of 2003 they circulated cards in local bars, advertising "Club Greenough". Neighbors used the card and other evidence to get them evicted. The site has had a string of bad renters. We hope now the owner will be more careful in his selection process.
307 Cotton Street
Michael LaPera proposed to replace two garages at 307 Cotton St. with a single four-story house. The house will have ground level parking with three floors above. Nearby neighbors have been contacted and we await their de
|Choice Seating (3745 Main St.)
MNC board members met with Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association (WNCA) board members to discuss Bart Blatstein's proposed 30- unit six-story apartment building at 3745 Main Street. This site is across from Bart's seven-story, 60-unit building currently under construction next to the CVS.
WNCA has been negotiating with Mr. Blatstein and are nearing an agreement. The existing building, Choice Seating, will be demolished and replaced. No parking will be provided. The plans call for on-street parking only.
A current traffic study shows there is sufficient on-street parking for the planned units. The WNCA draft agreement stipulates that Mr. Blatstein must provide off-street parking if, in the next five years, for any reason, traffic studies show that there is no longer sufficient on-street parking. The agreement also includes provisions for facade improvements.
MNC board members are opposed to the height of the building and concerned with the precedent of a major development with no parking along with the increased traffic congestion. The towering apartment buildings will create a canyon on Main Street and change the look of our historic hill town. WNCA is continuing to negotiate with Mr. Blatstein and has taken into account our concerns and comments.
Clear Away Snow and Ice
Within six hours of the end of a snowfall or freezing rain, residents & property owners must clear a path at least 30 inches wide on their sidewalk. Do not shovel or sweep the snow into the street. The penalty for violating this regulation can range from a minimum fine of $25 up to $300 for each violation.
|Trash, Parking, & NTI
MNC Board Members held a special meeting with Bernie Strain, of the Mayor's Office, and Police Officer Charlie Klein. We addressed the continuing problem with trash on Cresson St., listed hot spots of illegal parking, and furnished additional cleanup projects for NTI.
A few residents along Cresson Street, between Green Lane and Roxborough Avenue, have been putting their trash on the center divider on Cresson Street under the viaduct. This is against city regulations, unsightly, messy, and degrades the neighborhood.
Shortly before the meeting, we received word that SWEEP had, in response to neighbor's complaints, distributed a letter to the 4300 block of Cresson St. The letter explained the rules and regulations for putting out trash and warned of penalties for violations. We hope to follow up with a second letter and post signs. If residents persist in putting their trash out improperly, tickets will be issued.
Fountain of Juice
Brad Epstein and his partner made a presentation at our January meeting. They propose to open a health cafe at 4243 Main Street, former site of the Chaddsford Winery. They plan to feature fresh juices, soups and wraps. A zoning variance is required to allow a restaurant at the location.
Members were not opposed to the restaurant use. However, concern was raised that once the site is zoned for a restaurant, a liquor license is easy to obtain.While the Fountain of Juice does not plan to attain a liquor license, once the zoning is changed, anything is possible. We spoke to Dan Neducsin, property owner, and he agreed to provide a deed restriction prohibiting a liquor license at the site. Based on the deed restriction, We will support the variance.
|The water main project will continue on Silverwood Street. The Water Department plans to start work in February. The project will take about 5 months. They will replace the water mains on Silverwood from Levering St. to Cotton St. and on Grape St. They will not replace mains on Levering or Cotton Streets.|
|JUST A FEW MINUTES . . .
Kevin Smith began the meeting with the approval of the December minutes. The financial report was referenced as it appears in the January Newsletter. Kevin further announced that Mary Turtle has resigned as Treasurer with Mark Turtle taking her place.
A presentation was made by Brad and Ryan who have plans to open The Fountain of Juice at the location of the former Chaddsford Winery. The target opening is April 1, 2004 for this small, organic and health oriented restaurant that features cold salads and sandwiches as well as a variety of juice drinks. After a brief question and answer the group was unanimous in its support of this new business.
Kevin introduced Bernie Strain and Ray Jones who reported on the NTI and CLIP programs. NTI successfully completed six projects in our area including tree cutting and cleaning of vacant lots. Bernie and Ray asked the group what some future goals might be. Trash seemed to be the topic of most concern although graffiti and billboards as blight were also mentioned. A smaller sub group of Cresson Street and other interested neighbors will meet with Ray at Venice Island on 1-14-04 to resolve the trash problems on their blocks.
Kevin announced that the Zoning Board approved development of the Shurs Lane condominiums in spite of the failure of the developer to provide adequate parking spaces. The group voted on and carried a motion to oppose another apartment complex planned
January 7, 2004 General Meeting
for 3745 Main Street that would not offer any off-street parking. Other negative factors mentioned were the height of the building (six stories) that would create a wind tunnel effect as well as traffic congestion. MNC will approach WNCA to determine their position.
The nightclub Chemistry has been sold to the Grape Street Pub owners. It was agreed that we should meet with the involved parties to discuss any possible changes in the entertainment. Chemistry had presented problems previously with loud noise and rowdy late night patrons. Castle Roxx on Shurs Lane had also been a problem bar but their management worked with WNCA to address concerns. Noise continues to be the primary complaint for many bars. The Fifth Police District now has a sound meter to determine the noise level but neighbors must still resort to calling 911.
Kevin announced that there have been meetings with the owner of Cosmopolitan Home at 4163 Main Street regarding their renovations. MNC is concerned that the historic aspects of the building be maintained especially the second and third floors. A motion was proposed and carried that we ask the Historic Commission to support this.
The meeting ended with announcements. There will be a meeting at 6:30 PM on January 12 regarding Ridge Avenue development. Kevin is involved with this. He also represents us with the MDC Board although anyone interested can see Kevin about attending.
We've Got It!
New Urbanists promote a return to traditional town planning. Traditional neighborhoods feature walkable Main Street shopping districts, downtown parks, and grid streets. Basic goods and services are available within a short walk. Sidewalks, narrow streets, and proximity of commercial and residential areas facilitate walking.
|Garages are hidden in alleys, out of sight. Parallel street
parking replaces the parking lot.
Traditional suburbs put homes in one area, schools in another and shopping in yet a third. New Urbanists mix building types, sizes and prices. Rowhouses and twins cozy up to large single family homes. Apartments are built over street level stores.
|New Urbanist design encourages human interaction by keeping
houses close to each other and the street. Residents gather on front porches,
in nearby parks and on open plazas.
Does this sound familiar? It's our neighborhood. We're ahead of the game. Let's work together to keep it that way.
Please renew your membership or join if you are not a current
member. Membership Information & Form
Chemistry to Grape Street Pub
Joe Cahill, operator of Grape Street Pub, is purchasing Chemistry. According to their new website (http://www.grapestreet.com) they are planning a bigger and better Grapestreet Pub. "The new GSP Music Complex."
They plan to have the first floor incorporate a lounge for acoustic acts, a DJ booth and main stage performance area for up to 300 people, a bar, and food service area. The second floor will contain business offices, studios and facilities for music production and recording, and a retail store. The third floor will provide offices for a concert promoter. They are also planning to provide live entertainment in the parking lot and deck areas.
The future belongs to those who prepare for it today. - Malcolm X (1925 - 1965)
|Chemistry has a binding agreement with MNC and WNCA. We must
be notified of any transfer or sale of the liquor license and the owners
must meet with us before any transfer can take place. We will provide more
details as they become available. Mr. Cahill has been invited to our February
meeting. But has not had time to respond.
This change from Chemistry Nightclub to the GSP Music Complex has the potential to improve our community. A music venue is a better place than a pickup spot for drinks. Chemistry attracted young rowdy patrons.
We hope Mr. Cahill's complex will be a good neighbor. Let's try and persuade him to work with us.
The great thing in this world is not so much where you stand, as in what direction you are moving. - Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 - 1894)
MNC EXECUTIVE BOARD
Kevin Smith, President
Charlie Hewins, Vice President
Mark Turtle, Treasurer
Peg Ingram, Recording Secretary
Jane Glenn, Corresponding Sec.
Nancy Hudecki, Sgt at Arms
Joyce Finnen, Trustee
Joy Griffin, Trustee
Keith Newman, Trustee
Sandy Sorlien, Trustee
Trustee position open