THE COUNCIL CRIER
Recently the Manayunk Development Corporation has come under scrutiny regarding their adherence to their mission statement. A committee of board members has been formed to revisit the statement and make recommendations.
The Manayunk Development Corporation (MDC) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 community development corporation (CDC) formed to encourage economic development that benefits the entire community. Incorporated in 1985 and first staffed in 1988, MDC was originally known as the New Manayunk Corporation. This corporation took responsibility for parking, the canal and capital projects within the district. A separate entity, the Business Association of Manayunk (BAM), worked to promote the district by creating a number of festivals including the Main Street Stroll, the Manayunk Arts Festival, and the Indian Summer Feast. In 1992, BAM and the New Manayunk Corporation merged, forming MDC. As MDC, the functions of the two groups have continued and grown.
Currently, MDC is working with the City of Philadelphia on a planning effort to address the challenges that rapid growth has brought to the Manayunk community. In 1997 legislation was completed to create the Manayunk Special Services District (MSSD), a Business Improvement District to fund capital improvements.
The composition of MDC's Board of Directors reflects the different interests that comprise Manayunk: industrial, retail, restaurant, community, property owner, and financial/professional. Each category has three seats on the board, along with three "at-large", for a total of 21 seats.
At the January 6 general meeting of the Manayunk Neighborhood Council, a discussion was lead by Irene Madrak, Executive Director of North Light Community Center and Forest Aegiano, President of Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association. Both are on the Board of Directors of MDC and are on the Committee to review the mission statement, which states the following purpose:
"To promote social welfare by combating community deterioration, lessening neighborhood tensions and promoting community planning and development; to engage in other activities directly or indirectly related to, or which may assist in the accomplishment of, such purposes; and to do all other things and acts and exercise all other powers, rights and privileges which a nonprofit corporation may now or hereafter be organized or authorized to do or to exercise under the Nonprofit Corporation Law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
The ensuing discussion netted the following recommendations to MDC:
Improve the quality of life in the residential community.
Encourage business development which will impact positively on the residential community.
Community development - more balance between the neighborhood/business agenda.'
Forest Aegiano explained to the audience that the first meeting of this committee was with Steve Honeyman acting as facilitator. With the composition of the group having a prevailing attitude of good will, Forest left the 1 hour meeting with a "hopeful feeling." Progress of this endeavor will be reported as it unfolds.
Dennis Maloomian, president and CEO of Realen Properties Associates of Ambler, will present his company's plans for development on Venice Island. Realen holds an option to purchase the now-closed Connelly Containers Inc. property on the island. Connelly announced in late May the mill would close, and 59 workers have since lost their jobs. Connelly's main plant still remains in operation across the river. Demolition is planned for Venice Island's 88-year old mill pending zoning changes. The entire parcel, three acres, will have to be rezoned.
The property is connected to Main Street by the recently rebuilt Cotton Street bridge. At the western end of the site, where the plant stands, Realen is proposing a 120-room hotel that would include a 9,670-square-foot restaurant overlooking the river. Four elevated buildings will combine a row of retail shops and 200 luxury garden-style apartments. Plans for the buildings include a tree-lined thoroughfare and a public walkway on the canal and river sides of the island, along with pedestrian access to the site. The working name for the project is Cotton Street Landing.
Venice Island is located in the Schuylkill floodway. During 1972's Hurricane Agnes, the 1.8 mile-long island was underwater. Federal flood insurance rules require that new construction be built on piles at least 10 feet above the island's surface. Storm-generated floods will then wash pollutants from automobiles, trash receptacles and other ground level waste into the Schuylkill River, however building interiors will remain dry.
Representatives of Friends of the Manayunk Canal, Manayunk Neighborhood Council, and Wissahickon Neighbors Civic Association talked to City Council Member Michael Nutter about seeking a temporary halt to development on Venice Island until a master plan for the island is complete. They also requested that all development plans include a traffic and parking impact study. Venice Island is not subject to the current ban on new restaurants in Manayunk.
Some questions residents will want answered are;
How these plans will effect our already overcrowded streets and parking facilities?
How much green space and wildlife will be preserved on the island?
Do we have to accept development we don't want or need?
Is the City encouraging industry to leave Venice Island?
About parking on the sidewalk! Its ILLEGAL! MNC is in the process of creating a brochure warning residents to be sure to park legally. Look for it soon on car windshields of illegally parked cars in your neighborhood!
MANAYUNK NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
|Kathy Tomosky, President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215.483.7554|
|Liz Turella, Vice President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215.482.4698|
|Jane Glenn, Treasurer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . 215.482.5528|
|Karen Smith, Recording Secretary . . . . . . . . . . . . 215.483.0914|
|Arte Verbrugghe, Corresponding Secretary . . . . 215.483.4880|
|__ $3 Individual||__ $25 Business or Supporter||__ $100 Patron|
|__ $5 Family||__ $50 Sponsor||__ Other $______|
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|Make check payable to MNC and mail to Manayunk Neighborhood Council, PO Box 4667, Philadelphia, PA 19127|