Germantown neighbors plan to present Potter’s Field alternatives to HUD

Neighbors and community activists involved in the ongoing issue surrounding a former Potter’s Field at the Queen Lane Towers public-housing site are planning to present their own housing alternatives to federal officials who will decide its fate.

What happens next?

On Thursday morning, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will choose which — if any — homes will replace the now-empty 16-story apartment building, will hold its fourth “consulting parties” meeting.

There, stakeholders including Philadelphia Housing Authority officials, community activists, representatives of historic commissions and local elected officials, and former residents of the now-empty apartment building, will discuss the results of an archaeological dig and ongoing historic review of the site.

The dig, completed in March, produced no evidence of bones or other remains that would be disturbed by the demolition of the existing tower, or by a new project on the site.

That removed a direct impediment to PHA’s plan for the site, which features an open green space above the historic footprint of the Potter’s Field, with a lower-density residential development of 55 units around it.

Alternatives already discussed

At a community meeting in March, architect Peter DiCarlo presented three slightly different visions for the site, each incorporating many elements of PHA’s plan but with changes to some housing design and density.

DiCarlo’s approaches incorporated a variety of housing styles, including four-story apartment buildings and single-family homes, with open green space above the old Potter’s Field and some parking on the site.

A PHA spokeswoman told NewsWorks the agency’s plan already included many community suggestions and was unlikely to change.

Lisa Hopkins, a leading community voice in the issue through Northwest Neighbors of Germantown, said the alternatives will be presented at the meeting and urged interested parties to attend.

They do not appear on HUD’s agenda, though past consulting-parties meetings have involved open discussion and comment.

The meeting will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, at the Wanamaker Building, 100 Penn Square East.

Look for a full report on NewsWorks.

NewsWorks has partnered with independent news gatherer PlanPhilly to provide regular, in-depth, timely coverage of planning, zoning and development news. Contact Amy Z. Quinn at azquinn@planphilly.com.

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