Potter’s Field meetings in Germantown cancelled until further notice

The small crowd which gathered at the Mt. Moriah Church in Germantown was disappointed Thursday night after a Philadelphia Housing Authority official announced that meetings regarding the Potter’s Field issue were cancelled until further notice.

“There’s nothing to report, there’s no update,” announced Michael Johns, the PHA’s general manager of community development and design.

He said that report from when ground-penetrating radar was used to look beneath the surface has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which passed it along to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC).

“So we’re waiting for the PHMC to get back to us,” said Johns before sending attendees home.

Where the research stands

Johns said there have not been any preliminary results about graves on Potter’s Field.

“They found some anomalies, but we don’t know,” he added.

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, PHA had hosted a slew of marathon-like meetings, at the community’s request, about the historic Potter’s Field burial ground.

Discussions around the demolition of the 1950s high-rise project brings up bad memories for many neighbors about the history of the site, especially those who claim to have witnessed exposed human remains during its construction.

The radar results into what lay underneath the site on which a new PHA development will be built were sent to the PHMC on June 11. The commission has 30 days to review the material.

“PHA is losing the audience. Everyone wants to know dates, funding, safety, and the demolition and they’re not providing it for us,” said Lisa Hopkins, community liaison for the Northwest Neighbors of Germantown group.

The construction project is now four months behind schedule and concerns about whether the building will ever come down have been mounting from PHA residents and neighbors alike.

PHA said that the next meeting will be scheduled after they receive a report on what was found below.

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