Community involvement in proposed Ogontz development should’t stop at ward leader

    In response to a report from Amy Z. Quinn, a reader had a question about a plan to convert a derelict apartment building in North Philadelphia into supervised housing for two at-risk population. Amy has an answer.

    Last week, Amy Z. Quinn of PlanPhilly wrote about a plan to convert a derelict apartment building in the North Philadelphia neighborhood of Ogontz into supervised housing for homeless transgendered men and women and mentally disabled elderly residents. The project faces stiff opposition from some neighbors and a new civic association.

    NewsWorks reader Jerry Brown asked:

    I’m curious. What is the Democratic ward leader’s position on this planning? And has she met with the community to sell them the plan or voice their opposition? And what is the proposed budget for such a facility and what is the long term budgeting for the plan?

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    Quinn, who is working on a follow-up article that will dive a little deeper into this topic, responds:

    “My understanding is that the 17th Ward leader, Mabel Windham, has met with the developers of this site and has participated in meetings and the on-site tours with them. It’s less clear how much has been communicated to the wider community, and opponents I talked to said simply going through Windham was not enough for true ‘community input.’

    “‘[The developer] somehow wasn’t getting the point that the community was not the same as the ward leader,’ one opponent told me.

    “I don’t have the money figures yet but am gathering them, including the amount of public funding that will go into the project, for my follow-up.”

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