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Residents urged to report vacant houses

The president of the Northwood Civic Association last week urged members to report vacant houses and abandoned cars.

Joe Krause said he believed there are people who are selling cars and are storing them on neighborhood streets.

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“We report that,” he said during the association’s Sept. 16 session at St. James Church at Castor Avenue and Pratt Street. “I reported three today.”

He said it’s a low priority with police, but that once those cars are ticketed, they can be towed away.

Krause also asked residents to tell the association about empty houses.

“We want to keep an eye on them,” he said. Copper pipes frequently are stolen from vacant houses, and they just as often are the targets of vandals, so what happens to houses within the neighborhood is a frequent subject at Northwood meetings.

How these dwellings are occupied is another recurring topic. Northwood properties have deed restrictions. The houses are restricted to single-family dwellings. Commercial operations and rentals are not allowed. Krause and some of his Ramona Avenue neighbors are going to court to try to stop rentals on their block, he said.

He said neighbors of a house on the 1100 block of Wakeling Street whose owner is offering it for rent should “get together to take the owner to court.” There are not supposed to be any rentals in Northwood, he stressed.

In other business:

• Members reported they recently refurbished benches in Northwood Park, and have asked the city to restore the park steps and handrails at Castor Avenue and Arrott Street.

• City Controller Alan Butkovitz’s office hotline was announced. Residents who see fraud, waste, abuse or questionable activities by city agencies or employees can call 215–686 3804.

• Jason Dawkins, the Democratic candidate for the 179th Legislative District seat, said he will open up an office at 4664 Frankford Ave. Dawkins, who is unopposed in the general election, expects to start work in December. He also encouraged people to vote in November. “Please stay involved,” he said.

• Tom McAvoy, Northwood’s vice president and leader of the local Town Watch, said he believes that repeated reporting of illegal truck parking in the neighborhood has helped to get the problem under control. But it’s not been eliminated, he said. He said he calls 911 to report illegal truck parking to police and urged residents to do the same. “We need more people to call 911,” he said.

• Residents briefly discussed the now empty Kmart building at 900 Orthodox St. Some dumping had been going on, Krause said. He said that right now there are rumors about the property being purchased, but nothing concrete. ••

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