Construction is poised to start on new lighting and security devices at the Fox Chase Recreation Center.
Speaking to residents at the bimonthly meeting of the Fox Chase Homeowners Association and Town Watch on March 11, City Councilman Brian O’Neill reported that a $920,000 contract has been awarded to Carr & Duff, a Huntingdon Valley-based electrical contractor, which will begin installing lighting on playing fields, along with sonic security devices this spring. The work will continue at least into early summer.
The project as originally conceived was much smaller in scope, and about half the cost. O’Neill and recreation advocates wanted to install lights on the newly re-dedicated Firefighter Daniel Sweeney ball field, making the diamond the first in the Northeast suitable for nighttime play.
Early on, planners realized that the Fox Chase soccer field was also short on lights. Although host to night games, the field is poorly lit with many dark spots that can hinder play, O’Neill said. As a result, the planned renovations were expanded to include the soccer field.
Further, officials decided to secure the rec center by installing sonic devices that emit high-pitched shrills that only youths and young adults can hear. The disturbing noises are meant to prevent young people from gathering there after the rec center closes.
Next year, O’Neill hopes that there will be more improvements at Fox Chase, including the installation of a water spray park and the removal of some paving in favor of natural grass.
On other topics, O’Neill reported that he had secured a $5,000 grant from the city to benefit adult computer education classes at the Fox Chase Branch Library.
The Homeowners and Town Watch handled various other items of business at last week’s meeting:
• Homeowners Vice President George Bezanis has organized a mayoral candidates forum that Fox Chase Elementary School will host on April 10 from 7 to 9 p.m. It will focus on Northeast-oriented issues and is open to the public.
• Rob Caroselli, principal at Fox Chase Elementary, said that despite funding shortfalls, enrollment in the school is growing, including three full classes of 30 students in kindergarten this year.
The school has established partnerships with Fox Chase Farm and Catholic Community Services to support students and their families. Mandy Fellouzis directs programs at the Farm and invited residents to participate. Visit www.foxchasefarm.org for information. Mary Bell said that volunteer opportunities are available in various capacities at Catholic Community Services, a division of Catholic Social Services. Visit cssphiladelphia.org for information.
• Town Watch President Steve Phillips presented a plaque to Assistant District Attorney Beth Grossman in recognition of her eight years of service as chief of the DA’s Public Nuisance Task Force. The task force works with community groups like Town Watch and individual residents on resolving complaints about nuisance businesses and houses, such as those with drug activity.
• Bezanis announced that starting in May, the Homeowners Association will meet monthly instead of bimonthly. Monthly meetings will be held on the second Wednesday every month except August and December at 7:30 p.m. at American Legion Post 366, 7976 Oxford Ave.
The group hopes to address zoning cases more timely and to shorten the duration of meetings. ••