As Temple continues its campaign to win community support for the university’s proposed North Philadelphia football stadium, its promise to build a new community facility on the northwest corner of 13th and Diamond streets has become a critical point of negotiation. Now the school has submitted new renderings for the Alpha Center to be reviewed at the April meeting of the city’s Civic Design Review. The proposed project, as written in the CDR application, would consist of a 95,000-square-foot “full-service, interdisciplinary education and community engagement center.” Within its yellow and white walls, an early learning center would coexist with a “dental clinic, psychology and counseling services, classrooms for adult education, shared use space, community training area, and office and work space for the College of Education.” Temple president Richard Englert referenced the center as a prime example of the university’ commitment to giving back to the neighborhood at a disastrous town hall held in February. Temple has also applied for a $10,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant to pay for the center, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Julia Terruso reports.
Temple’s Project Delivery Group also released new details for the proposed stadium this week. Check out the aptly named ‘A walkthrough of Temple University’s multipurpose facility proposal’ here.
A record shop frequented by Miles Davis and Al Green scheduled for demolition today
Webb’s Department Store at 2152 Ridge Avenue, a landmark African American record store, is scheduled for demolition today, Hidden City’s Michael Bixler reports. The crumbling little record shop, opened in 1972, was once a go-to spot for legends such as Miles Davis, Al Green, the Temptations, and Richard Pryor. Bixler pays tribute to owner Bruce Cornell Webb, a beloved community figure of North Philly and the city’s music scene. In addition to kicking it with Smokey Robinson, Grover and Joe Frazier, Webb “was active in the music industry as a promoter, consultant, and record distributor to local radio stations [and was] also a photographer for Philadelphia’s oldest free Black newspaper, Scoop USA, for 50 years,” writes Bixler. The music entrepreneur grew up in the Black Bottom section of West Philadelphia and died at 83 in 2017 at Sacred Heart Home, a nursing facility for terminally ill cancer patients in Hunting Park. L&I issued an unsafe structure violation on the property in October 2016 and demolition permit was filed in February 2018, Bixler reports.
Editor’s Note: This item was updated to reflect a correction made by Bixler about the ownership of the record shop.
“To my dying breath, I won’t agree to anything with the gas pumps.”
Pennsport neighbors were not happy with developer Bart Blatstein’s plans for a super-sized Wawa convenience store with gas pumps on South Philadelphia’s Delaware River waterfront, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jacob Adelman reports. Blatstein shared his logic with neighbors at the Pennsport Civic Association Wednesday night, explaining that since the waterfront district is mostly accessed by cars, a gas station “no different than a train stop or a bus stop.”
This angered community members.
“The gas pumps, they’ve got to go,” said Thomas Otto, a civic association board member. “To my dying breath, I won’t agree to anything with the gas pumps.”
While neighbors who spoke were generally supportive of the larger development that includes a Lidl supermarket, they raised concerns that a fueling station would “draw increased traffic from the adjacent I-95 highway into the community’s streets, exacerbating congestion, parking shortages and pollution” as well as counter the community’s efforts to become less car-centric.
Public Service Announcements
We’re highlight wo ways to volunteer today:
1) Is organizing a neighborhood spring cleaning and getting the supplies to do so on your bucket list? Participate in the city’s 11th annual Spring Cleanup on April 7th. Sign up here.
2) The MENTOR (Mentors Empowering Now to Overcome Recidivism) initiative is seeking volunteer mentors to provide emotional support, encouragement, and practical assistance for young adults (18-30) convicted of nonviolent offenses. The program, an initiative of the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, seeks to interrupt the cycle of recidivism by providing supportive services to help participants overcome some of the traditional barriers to successful reentry. Learn more about the initiative here.