Preservation Alliance discusses historic places at civic meeting

A look back: There is only one property in the Castor Gardens area that is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, and that’s the former Ott’s camera shop at 6901 Castor Ave. In 2016, Bob Ott holds a family photo taken when his father owned Ott’s Camera Shop.

Representatives of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia were among the guests at last week’s meeting of the Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association.

The slide show indicated that there is only one property in the Castor Gardens area that is on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, and that’s the former Ott’s camera shop at 6901 Castor Ave. Ott’s, built in 1954 and closed in 2016, is now a real estate office.

The Preservation Alliance has identified more than a dozen properties in the Castor Gardens area whose exteriors could qualify for the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. Those properties include schools, churches, banks, cemeteries, libraries, the District 10 Health Center and the Engine 71 firehouse.

In other news from the Feb. 26 meeting:

• State Rep. Jared Solomon called for more police officers in the area. He also told the crowd he has identified a nice building for the 2nd Police District. At present, the 2nd district shares a headquarters with the 15th Police District, on Levick Street in Lower Mayfair. After the meeting, Solomon refused to identify the site of the possible new building.

Solomon also said he is working to bring a Police Athletic League program to the Castor Gardens area.

As for the Trinity Church, Oxford property, he has brought in developers, charter schools and senior living agencies to check out the vacant parcel.

• A representative from the city Department of Revenue explained ways to decrease real estate taxes. The city taxes property value at 1.3998 percent, but a $30,000 homestead exemption is available, with no income or age requirements, To apply for the homestead exemption and for other information, call 215-MU6–9200 or visit phila.gov/opa

• Jerry Payes, a consultant with Vector Security, encouraged people to use deadbolts, flood lights and light timers for home protection. He suggested canceling mail and newspaper delivery while on vacation. And while on vacation, he said, it’s not a good idea to post pictures on social media because it could lead to a home break-in. For more information, contact Payes at 610–761–6009 or japayes@vectorsecurity.com

• Lt. John Craig and community relations officer Mark Mroz, of the 2nd Police District, were in attendance. Mroz spoke of an early-morning home invasion on the 2100 block of Fanshawe St. The two male residents were tied up by two gunmen, pistol whipped and ordered to hand over money. One of the victims escaped and ran to a nearby Wawa. Police are looking for two black male suspects in what they sense could be a case of mistaken identity.

Police are also looking for a suspect in a drug-related shooting death on the 500 block of Rosalie St.

An ex-boyfriend has been arrested in the stabbing death of a woman in an apartment on the 7100 block of Oxford Ave.

• Lisa Deeley, chairwoman of the city election commission, told the crowd that the primary is on May 15. She brought voter registration forms. The deadline to register is April 16.

• Take Back Your Neighborhood will meet again on Monday, April 16, at 7 p.m. at Max Myers Playground, 1601 Hellerman St. ••