District 172: Breaking down funding during the Perzel era

This is part of ongoing coverage in “District 172: The Politics of Change after State Rep. John Perzel,” a collaborative effort with Philadelphia Neighborhoods funded by J-Lab.

You can find an update to this post at the bottom of the article, from the April 12 Holmesburg Civic Association meeting.

About $10.6 million was funneled directly to the Mayfair Community Development Corp. since 2000, granted from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, according to its website. Much of it went into street cleaning and senior citizen programs.


The document states $800,000 was used toward the Devon theater.


The same state department gave the Holmesburg Civic Association and the Friends of the Holmesburg Library $5,000 each, according to state records.


While records show Tacony groups took $460,000 in that time span, there was no evidence of any funded projects focusing on Winchester Park, Sandyford Park, Lexington Park or Holme Circle. But the website reported $60,000 was spent on the Pennypack Park festival.

Tacony historian Lou Iatarola said former Rep. John Perzel used his influence as House speaker to have these projects funded in Mayfair.

But many residents said they still benefited from this funding since Mayfair is so close to their homes.

Dan Devine of Lexington Park said he looked forward to the news letters Perzel’s office mailed to residents years ago.

“He would keep you up to date,” Devine said. “He was always involved in groups with Abraham Lincoln High School.”


Winchester Park Civic President Mary Ann Kiker said Perzel arrived at almost all of her meetings when he was in office.

Although Kiker met a few staff members for Rep. Kevin Boyle at the last meeting, she is still waiting to see the freshman incumbent himself.

“I’m not too impressed if he can’t show up in person,” Kiker said.

UPDATE (April 12): John Sullivan of State Rep. Kevin Boyle’s office told Holmesburg Civic Associations at the April meeting that Boyle’s office has asked for supervision of the bridge on Frankford Avenue between Solly and Ashburner to determine what the weight limit should be. In the meantime, violating truck drivers will be ticketed, Sullivan says. The fight to get the train trestle in the same location painted is ongoing.

Ian Romano is a student reporting for Philadelphia Neighborhoods, the publication of Temple University’s Multimedia Urban Reporting Lab.

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