Hawthorne’s transformation | demo for historic banks | climate change ed | SugarHouse expansion scale | OCF Coffee for Point Breeze

Hawthorne Park officially opened in early July, completing one of the neighborhood’s many urban experimentation cycles. Inga Saffron visits Hawthorne Park in her column this week, finding that even though the new park design is “low on frills, it ties together beautifully with the surrounding neighborhood.” She reflects on the decades of turbulent neighborhood transformation in Hawthorne: from razing blocks for public housing tower construction, mean streets, tower demo, Hope IV housing construction, a development boom, and an increasingly gentrified, mixed neighborhood.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment approved Women’s Community Revitalization Project’s plan to develop affordable housing at Front and Norris, paving the way for two historic bank buildings to be demolished, reports Hidden City Daily. Both long neglected banks were tied to the neighborhood’s significant textile industry and were part of an inventory of remaining textile-related sites, which will be the basis for a thematic nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. Jordan Rushie of the Fishtown Neighbors Association said they support the addition of new construction for affordable housing in the neighborhood but said, “When there’s so much vacant property in East Kensington, it just doesn’t seem like the right project.” Neither building was listed in the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

The Franklin Institute will receive more than $5 million from the National Science Foundation to educate Philadelphians about climate change, reports the Inquirer. The Franklin Institute’s Steve Snyder said the focus would be on ways urban residents can adapt to and mitigate climate change, paying particular attention to our essential systems: food, water, transportation, and energy.

SugarHouse’s owners are sparring over the casino’s proposed expansion in a Delaware court, reports the Inquirer, and for local investor Robert Potamkin the proposed SugarHouse expansion just isn’t big enough. “We want a first-class casino, not something cheesy,” Potamkin said. Based on a provision in their agreement, Philadelphia’s minority investors claim the scaled back expansion plan advanced by the Chicago investors require a supermajority vote.

Remember the OCF coffee shop saga at 20th and Federal? After a long road, the new coffee shop is set to officially open on Monday. Naked Philly (the blog affiliated with OCF Realty) reported that the OCF Coffee House opened up for a preview party on Thursday night, taking donations for the 17th Police District’s Family Fun and Safety Day and offering sweet and boozy treats.

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