Holmesburg Civic Association hopes for more from police PSAs

The main topic of last night’s Holmesburg Civic Association was Police Service Areas — and why a commander from the 8th District  wasn’t there to explain them.

As the 8th District gets ready to launch Police Service Areas — breaking the district into three patrol zones — residents of Holmesburg, which sits in half the 8th and 15th districts, have questions.

Despite confirmation from the 8th District that either the captain or a lieutenant would be present at the January meeting to answer questions from residents, Civic Association President Fred Moore said he received a phone call just an hour before the meeting began with word that neither representative would be attending. Filling in was Officer Snyder — one of only 13 officers patrolling the district last night — and former 8th PDAC President Larry Mitchell.

Zoning matters

Paul Stadelberger, CEO of New Foundations Charter School, announced the school will get a new sign in the coming months.

The pyramid-shaped digitized sign will replace the old, manual announcement board out front. The shape will allow the sign to have three digital screens, so it can be seen from all angles of the Torresdale Avenue/Rhawn Street intersection.

Stadelberger said plans for the sign began five months ago, and expects it will be an additional two months before the new sign can go up.

The Association board wrote a letter of non-opposition to the Zoning Board, but Stadelberger said he won’t order the parts until the Zoning Board gives him a variance.

Mitchell informed the crowd of about 20, including members of Upper Holmesburg Civic Association and Town Watch, that the district will host monthly PSA meetings, the first of which will be held Jan. 20. Mitchell called the PSA concept “a good idea if it works well.”

Mitchell explained the general goals of the PSAs: to keep police controls consistent and help foster relationships among residents and police officers. Holmesburg, he said, is part of the 15th District’s PSA 3, and the 8th District’s PSA 1, with boundaries of the Delaware River, Roosevelt Boulevard, Rhawn Street and Willits/Welsh Road.

Moore, who along with the rest of the board was visibly frustrated with the response from the 8th District, said: “I don’t know if PSAs will change the way police go about things.” He went on to say, after telling Snyder and Mitchell he wants the community to be involved with the new patrol system: “[PSAs] do narrow things down a bit.”

Also at last night’s meeting…Board members and residents speculated about development plans, now that Liddonfield is being torn down…The crowd lamented the lack of nice stores in the neighborhood, citing the most recent addition of a gold-buying operation on Frankford Avenue…Moore announced the executive board will become “broader” in February, and is looking to get more people involved…The board agreed to pursue the 15th District in an effort to have a representative speak at an upcoming meeting…The 8th District PSA meeting will be held Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Cottage Green.

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