Signs of pride

Welcome to Holme Circle: Community leaders in Holme Circle join City Councilman Dennis O’Brien, State Rep. Ed Nielson and City Councilman Bobby Henon for the dedication of new “Welcome to Holme Circle” signs along Holme Avenue. The Holme Circle Civic Association coordinated the project with additional support from Aztec signs, State Sen. Mike Stack, St. Jerome’s Roman Catholic Church and the Immaculate Mary Home.

Holme Circle is more than a traffic routing mechanism. It’s also a vibrant Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood.

Civic and political leaders recently erected a colorful new reminder of that in the busy hub of the community that has become known for its central physical feature. They dedicated two “Welcome to Holme Circle” signs on April 19.

The royal blue placards face eastbound and westbound traffic on Holme Avenue at the circle. That’s where Welsh and Ashton roads meet the avenue in a modified roundabout intersection. Motorists on Holme who wish to stay on Holme can continue straight through the circle. But folks on the secondary roads and those who wish to turn must use the roundabout.

Thousands of vehicles a day will pass the two new signs. The Holme Circle Civic Association organized the project. Mike Gould headed the committee.

“It’s been about three years [in the making],” Gould said. “It started as a beautification project to identify the area, the neighborhood. There are other parts of the city that have identifying signs. It’s to give the neighborhood some character and identity.”

The double-post signs are six feet wide. The placards are about two feet tall and have about two feet of clearance above the ground. They are installed on the grassy median of Holme Avenue inside the roadway circle. Volunteers planted some annual flowers in beds surrounding the posts.

Aztec Signs of Wissinoming designed the custom signs, which feature the neighborhood’s name in gold, italicized block lettering, as well as a blue cursive “H” logo on a circular field of gold. The civic group chose the colors to echo Philadelphia’s official municipal colors.

Holme Circle and Holme Avenue are named after Thomas Holme, William Penn’s surveyor general, who is buried along the avenue in the Holme-Crispin Cemetery between Convent Avenue and Longford Street.

“I’ve always thought of Holme Circle as sort of a crossroads. It’s different from places like Mayfair, Bustleton and Somerton,” Gould said. “[The civic association] brings together the neighborhoods around Holme Circle.”

Because the avenue is a state highway, the civic association had to obtain approvals from PennDOT and the city’s Streets Department. State Sen. Mike Stack and Reps. Ed Neilson and John Sabatina helped cut through the red tape on the state level.

Locally, Councilmen Bobby Henon and Dennis O’Brien ushered an enabling ordinance through City Council. Several community organizations helped the effort financially and logistically, including the Immaculate Mary Home and St. Jerome Parish, which provides the hall for the civic group’s monthly meetings.

Gould, the civic association vice president, chairs the group’s Beautification Committee with help from civic group President Elsie Stevens and Board Member Joe Razler. ••