Northeast Philadelphia residents discuss Tacony’s bright future, safe injection sites and Brett Kavanaugh in this week’s letters to the editor.
Tacony’s bright future
Just six years ago, the Tacony Community Development Corporation announced “Grand Plans in Tacony” on the cover of the Northeast Times. At the time, it was hard to believe that Torresdale Avenue could improve at all. The conditions were challenging — a vacancy rate pushing 30 percent, blighted buildings, trash and litter and 18 dead tree pits. Five businesses closed that year alone.
Fast forward to today. We have a vacancy rate of 10 percent and declining, 35 renovated storefronts, a robust clean-and-safe program with more than 150 security cameras and 52 new mature trees. We’ve welcomed new artists into our renovated historic buildings including a brand-new recording studio.
This commercial investment has spilled into Tacony’s red-hot housing market. Hardest hit by the Great Recession and its associated foreclosure crisis — in 2014, Tacony’s average home price bottomed out at $90,000. Vacant and boarded-up buildings peppered our neighborhood, and “zombie properties” stuck in the foreclosure crisis attracted squatters and crime.
Today, Tacony’s average home price is $125,000, a 38-percent increase over 2014, and prices are projected to increase an additional 12 percent in this year alone. This market strength has brought investment off the sidelines, as renovations are welcoming new home buyers to our neighborhood. We are beginning to see planned new home construction for the first time since the early 2000s.
But the investment doesn’t stop there. A newly renovated and expanded Tacony Library is welcoming families with robust programming. Along our waterfront, the Tacony Campus of MaST Charter School is nearly ready for students, and our North Delaware Waterfront Trail is expanding. New amenities, including public art, are popping up all over our Avenue. Our new National Register Historic District has freed up federal tax credits to rehabilitate our income-producing historic buildings.
This revival didn’t happen by accident and it didn’t take “grand plans.” It took the dedication of our trustees, volunteers, business owners, elected officials and partners working together. Looking forward, we know that Tacony’s future is bright.
Director & Corridor Manager, Tacony Community Development Corporation
A decoration for Kenney
Jim Kenney should put the statue of Frank Rizzo in the Philadelphia mayor’s office.
Injection site near Eddie
Let’s put the first safe injection site in Ed Rendell’s neighborhood. And hopefully he lives outside the city so we can return many of the users to the neighborhoods they are from. This reminds me of every nonprofit that starts out with good intentions but becomes a moneymaker for some connected person.
So we condone the selling of heroin in arrest-free zones. So are we throwing out the local dealer who has invested his life on that corner and sell franchises to the politically connected (don’t leave any money on the table)?
What happens to the attendant who assists in the process and the patient gets in a car and kills a family of five when they are still high? That would be a very nice lawsuit. You can’t exactly have a user sign waivers when they are under duress of needing a hit. This opens up two more money makers for the thriving politicians. They can sell liability insurance to the attendants. And they start the Heroin Express Bus to get the users back to their legal dealer. I’m sure there are a few more business opportunities for the politicians.
Meanwhile, the beat will go on and nothing will be solved.
Thoughts on Kavanaugh
What certain people said about the Brett Kavanaugh hearings:
President Trump: He didn’t do it. I know a sexual predator when I see one.
Justice Ginsburg: If he did it, he could sit next to me on the bench.
VP Mike Pence: I came that close to someone needing my opinion.
Michael Avenatti: Now I have to find another female client.
Sen. Schumer: We need a new reason to keep a future Trump nominee off the court.
Bill Cosby: White Privilege