Philly neighborhood civic group steals money

Is your neighborhood civic group siphoning off money from residents? Neighborhood civic groups are made to empower residents and give them a voice in the community and city. Civic organizations are supposed to be nonprofit; money gathered should ideally go to support projects that benefit the neighborhood.

We’ve received a report that a civic organization may be using some of that government grant money to either line the pockets of their board members or invest in projects that are of little benefit to their neighborhood. The organization is currently under investigation.

How transparent is your neighborhood organization? Do you know what money comes in and where they go? More importantly, are your neighborhood needs being met? Are the residents fairly represented or do board members keep you in the dark?

Just recently, developers of Live! Hotel & Casino agreed to grant approximately $750,000 a year to five South Philly neighborhood groups in order to win their support.

The grants will be administered by a community advisory board with members from the five community groups:

  • Sports Complex Special Services District
  • Stadium Community Council
  • Veterans Stadium Neighbors Civic Association
  • Whitman Council
  • South Philadelphia Communities Civic Association

This is a lot of money, but the exchange is allowing gambling in the residential neighborhoods. The casino will be paying the community groups, but will the groups ensure the money benefit the residents?

Pennsport Beer Peddlers: a successful opening

Philadelphia’s most recently opened beer retailer has been enjoying the fine weather and support of local beer enthusiasts. Beer Peddlers, located at 1942 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd in the Pennsport neighborhood of South Philly, has seen tremendous success since it’s opening last week.

Part of the success may be due to the fact that is located next to Fine Wine and Good Spirits Store. Mostly, we think it’s due to their large selection of craft, import, and domestic beers.

Pennsport Beer Peddlers
Beer Peddlers is located right next to the liquor store (image via Beer Peddlers Facebook)
Pennsport Beer Peddlers Opening Doors
Beer Peddlers opens their door wide in support of the fine weather (image via Beer Peddlers Facebook)

Art & Craft Beer: Black Cat Tavern coming to South Philly

Black Cat Tavern plans to open at 12th and Oregon, where Cheech’s Beef & Ale once stood. Owners Marlise Tkaczuk and Tom Ball reveal that their draft will include craft beers and the bar menu will be Polish inspired. Tkaczuk will also be utilizing her talent to curate art shows at the bar.

Black Cat Tavern is scheduled to open in the Lower Moyamensing in January 2016. This tavern is the something new, artistic, and cultural that South Philly has been awaiting.

Cheech's closes for Black Cat Tavern
Cheech’s Beef and Ale will be gone and Black Cat Tavern will make it’s grand opening

Unconstitutional Rittenhouse Square Residential Area Bill Amended

A bill that would have banned college students from renting apartments in Rittenhouse Square and its surrounding neighborhood was amended and now will only apply to the single block of 2000 Rittenhouse Square.

Initially, the bill sought to prohibit “housing, not owner-occupied, for students” along with boarding homes in an area bounded by Spruce Street to the south and Walnut Street to the north between 17th and 21st Streets.

Apparently student housing and boarding homes are okay to plant in any other area of the city (look at UPenn or Temple campuses), but not where the city’s most elite live.

The bill is supported by Council President Darrell Clarke and Councilman William Greenlee, who supposedly receive a large sum of support from Rittenhouse’s elite.

ShopRite of Whitman Plaza Coming 2016

Renovations are under way at Whitman Plaza. ShopRite has officially posted their banner on the old Pathmark store window at 330 W. Oregon Ave. No official dates have been announced, but ShopRite boasts an opening date in early 2016. Early could be as early as January, but sources say opening date is more likely to be in late February or early March and definitely in time for Easter.

ShopRite of Whitman Plaza
ShopRite of Whitman Plaza is coming early 2016 to the Whitman neighborhood of South Philadelphia

Where are shoppers getting their groceries for the time being? Many locals report shopping at ShopRite at Snyder Plaza or traveling to ACME on Oregon Ave. For those who like to be right next to their home store, the Oregon Market is literally steps away from Whitman Plaza.

Related: ShopRite moves to Oregon Ave as Pathmark closes | ShopRite finalizes opening date of September 2016

Authentic Asian Dining in Lower Moyamensing

Along the Lower Moyamensing neighborhood, Cambodia Town serves some of the most authentic asian food in South Philadelphia. None of these little eateries have the grandeur of Washington Ave or Chinatown restaurants, but they have quality and richness of authenticity. The loyalty of the locals who have tried and loved their food have helped them prevail in South Philly for decades.

Influx of new residents have led to newly found fame of some of the restaurants in the once self-contained neighborhood. It will still takes courage to venture out to the unfamiliar ground and cross the language barrier. Be adventurous.

Cafe Vinh Long (2225 S 7th St; 215-334-8505; vinhlong.farphilly.com) is a small, simple restaurant cafe that makes fresh Vietnamese hoagies, or banh mi, right in front of you. Sure, you can travel to Washington Ave and other parts of South Philly to eat the mainstream Ba Le hoagie, or you could try this hidden gem. The Vietnamese coffee are made to order with French coffee drips.

New Phnom Penh (2301 S 7th St; 215-389-2122) is a hole-in-the-wall, less than 10-tables seating cafe that serves the absolute best Phnom Penh Noodle Soup (Hu Tieu Nam Vang) in Philadelphia. The streets around here are small, with less than inviting looks and some language barriers – but don’t let that stop you from trying some of the best Cambodian comfort food in the city, as reviewed by the Philadelphia Weekly.

 

Cambodian Noodle Soup
Noodle Soup with extra veggies and hot sauce via instagram

 

Other notable nearby Khmer eateries in Lower Moyamensing and Whitman neighborhoods:

Heng Seng Restaurant
2217 S. Seventh St.
215-755-5390

I Heart Cambodia
2207 S. Seventh St.
215-755-2728

Khmer Kitchen
1700 S. Sixth St.
215-755-2222

Khmer Sweet Basil
1801 S. Sixth St.
215-465-2329

Neighborhood Convening at Playgrounds in South Philly

Join the Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge neighborhood convening in South Philadelphia on Friday, November 13, 2015. The event will be hosted at on the 2nd floor of The Mill (2115 8th St.) and gather stakeholders and community members, local and international activists, planners, curators, artists, and politicians, to explore questions of cooperation, civic engagement, and gentrification.

The convening will begin with an in-depth presentation of CohStra’s research report, followed by round tables with local and international practitioners, combining their expertise to facilitate new imaginings of solutions to enduring problems.

Registration for the neighborhood convening costs $15. (We’re not sure why it costs…)

Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge Neighborhood Convening
By City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Convening Neighborhood South Philly Mural Arts
Date:
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13 2015
9:00 AM — 5:30 PM

Location:
The Mill
2115 8th St., 2nd floor
Philadelphia, PA 19148

About Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge:

Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge is a community-based experimental urban platform that uses play, games and performance to reveal, share and celebrate local knowledge produced in South Philadelphia, an area known for its rich cultural and ethnic diversity. A project by Cohabitation Strategies (CohStra), Playgrounds seeks the restructuring of urban spaces by promoting new social relations across cultural and economic divides, with the objective of generating just and sustainable forms of collective inhabiting to confront the pressures of accelerated urban development.

From May through September 2015, Playgrounds for Useful Knowledge occupied the lot at 632 Jackson Street, creating a temporary hub space where the demands of daily life are interrupted through play to inspire new spatial imaginaries and political subjectivities. Here CohStra collaborated with a variety of neighborhood partners in a participatory pilot project that activates playful ways of critically thinking of land occupation, gentrification, environmental restoration and housing through participatory design, while inspiring cross-cultural communication by generating knowledge exchange through performance, construction and dialogue.

Philadelphia Libraries the new scene: Meet, Yoga, Learn

The future for the Free Library of Philadelphia is looking up a year after the big scare that promised the closing of 11 public library branches.

The Free Library of Philadelphia was awarded a $26 million grant from the William Penn Foundation last year. Much of that money went into upgrading and renovating six of the libraries: Central Library on Parkway, and branches of Lehigh Avenue, Logan Library, Lovett Library on Germantown Avenue, South Philadelphia, and Tacony.

Why those six? “With six million Philadelphians visiting the city libraries in person each year, the renovations, which will make the branches brighter and more accessible, are welcome,” reports Siobhan Reardon, President of the Free Library of Philadelphia. At least 50 other library branches failed to receive an upgrade, but local staff have made strong efforts to open keep their doors open to the community.

Philadelphia Library of Whitman Philadelphia

The Whitman Library branch serving Pennsport and Whitman at 2nd and Snyder Ave offers various different classes and events each week. Adult Education Classes are offered to help locals get their G.E.D. or improve their English. LEAP After School Program offers homework help, computer assistance and special programs for children and adults. This library branch also has free yoga for children and adults. They put out new calendars monthly on their Facebook page.

Philadelphia Library

Remember to come out to your local library to support, whether it be to volunteer, donate, or simply read a book!

What’s Coming to 10th and Oregon Ave?

What’s happening at the southwest corner of 10th St and Oregon Ave? The contractors have ripped down the old buildings, dug up the ground, and are amidst a new construction project. One of the buildings torn down used to house Candelaria Produce (2700 S 10th St). The building is in the Marconi Plaza neighborhood and adjacent to Oregon Steak.

Marconi Park

The new structure will be four stories high for commercial uses, with two additional dwelling units. It has been reported that a fabricator business may be moving in rather than the previously rumored coffee shop. It seems Marconi Plaza and Whitman area must continue on with their lack in cafes.