HomeNewsCity plans improvements for Fox Chase Town Center

City plans improvements for Fox Chase Town Center

Fox Chase has moved to the top of the pecking order in the City Planning Commission’s Philadelphia2035 project.

During the bimonthly meeting of the Fox Chase Homeowners Association and Town Watch, City Planner Mike Thompson told residents that the “Fox Chase Town Center” was identified as a focus area of the Central Northeast District Plan, which is one of 18 district plans included in the commission’s long-range planning initiative.

The town center includes the Oxford Avenue and Rhawn Street business corridors and features retail shops, food and drink establishments, a commuter train station, a recreation center, schools, churches, an American Legion hall and a public park, along with an attractive and well-maintained streetscape. But there is room for improvements.

“We’re combining a lot of little things to create a lot of energy and improve a successful area,” Thompson said.

The planning commission launched Philadelphia2035 four years ago and has adopted seven district plans, including the one for the Central Northeast, which was completed last March. Three other plans are in progress. The process consists of several public meetings where planners meet with residents to identify community assets, problems and objectives. In addition to Fox Chase, the Central Northeast covers Burholme, Rhawnhurst, Lexington and Bell’s Corner, along with portions of Lawndale, Upper Northwood and Castor Gardens.

The plan cites several concerns about Fox Chase, such as a parking shortage, walkways that are unfriendly to pedestrians in some areas and property uses that do not conform with the zoning code. The plan recommends several specific projects, including the conversion of an abandoned railroad into a hiking trail, the installation of sidewalks along Oxford Avenue from Hartel to Shelmire and reconfiguring the parking at the train station to increase capacity.

Fox Chase’s status as a Philadelphia2035 focus area improves its chances of obtaining public funding for those projects and others, Thompson said.

Other items on last week’s meeting agenda included:

• Officer Dianne Murphy of the 2nd Police District warned residents about a rash of car break-ins in recent weeks. Eight have been reported in Police Service Area 3, which covers the northern portion of the district. In several cases, thieves stole air bags from the cars. In two cases, the victims left their cars unlocked.

• George Bezanis, vice president of the Homeowners, directed residents to the new Fox Chase Homeowners Association group on Facebook. Leaders hope the social media presence will help them increase participation, particularly among younger neighbors. The Homeowners also have a website at www.foxchasehomeowners.org

• Members of the Homeowners executive board were elected to new two-year terms. The officers include President Matt Braden, Vice President George Bezanis, Secretary Kate Friend, Treasurer Frank Blasick, Zoning Chairman Craig Turner and Sergeant-at-arms Chuck Tucker.

• On the Town Watch side, President Steve Phillips announced that he has asked the 2nd district to add extra patrols around Fox Chase Recreation Center on Sunday, March 15, for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In recent years, large groups of young people have gathered at the playground on the morning of the parade to drink beer, leaving the place a mess. Eventually, the youths take SEPTA trains Downtown for the parade, only to return to the playground later in the day. Last year, revelers caused extensive damage to the ball fields, Phillips said. ••

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