Panhandling problem addressed at Burholme meeting

City plans outreach efforts for panhandlers, providing them with information on food, housing and medicine.

The Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association is off for the summer, with its next meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14.

At its June meeting, held at Ryerss Museum & Library, 2nd Police District community relations officer Mark Mroz spoke about the city’s planned outreach to panhandlers, offering them information on food, housing and medicine.

Mroz described some panhandlers as “professional hustlers.”

“It’s getting out of hand. Don’t give them any money,” he said.

Members also learned about a potential day care at 1401 Cottman Ave. (at Whitaker Avenue). The facility would be for kids ages 1 to 5 and be open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. A hearing is set for Aug. 2 in front of the Zoning Board of Adjustment. The property had been a day care for 12 years.

Neighbors approved, with just one vote against, a series of variances for a property at 1302–08 Cottman Ave. (near Montour Street). Attorney Shawn Ward explained that the variances would be for a lot line relocation, demolition of an old garage and an extension of a medical office.

The property houses a chiropractor and dentist, and has 10 parking spots. The owners promise no drug rehabilitations, halfway houses, abortions or medical dispensing on site.

The Town Watch and civic association supported a bill sponsored by City Councilwoman Cherelle Parker (D-9th dist.) that requires developers of mid- and large-scale projects to complete a form outlining the potential impact of their development on neighborhoods to better inform residents and businesses. Council passed the bill.

“The biggest obstacle for our organization in determining whether or not to support or oppose a project is a lack of information,” said Don Garecht, vice president of the Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association. “Despite our best efforts to communicate with applicants, on many occasions, we do not have basic details about projects until our community meetings. The Project Information Form will help educate community participants and further professionalizes the zoning process. The result of this commonsense legislation is a better working relationship between developers and residents.”

Burholme Park, at Cottman and Central avenues, will host free movies on two upcoming Saturdays. The lineup is The Secret Life of Pets (Aug. 26, 8 p.m.) and Ghostbusters (Oct. 21, 7 p.m.).

Ryerss Museum & Library, located inside Burholme Park, has a series of upcoming activities.

Children ages 4–9 are invited to make murals on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 5–6, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Ann Marie Mulgrew and Dancers will perform on Sunday, April 13, at 1 and 3 p.m.

Parks on Tap will take place from Sept. 20–24, and will feature beer, food trucks and games. ••