Northwood residents talk neighborhood issues

The Northwood Civic Association discussed old Frankford YMCA, National Wholesale Liquidators and potential Town Watch.

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Residents discussed a variety of neighborhood issues at the Nov. 20 Northwood Civic Association meeting.

Among the topics were two vacant or soon-to-be-vacant properties — the old Frankford YMCA building, 4704 Leiper St., and National Wholesale Liquidators, 900 Orthodox St., which is closing soon.

The YMCA closed in 2009 and was put up for sale earlier this year. It is owned by a local nonprofit headed by attorney Frank Bennett, and an online real estate listing advertised an asking price of just under $200,000.

NCA President Joe Krause said the large property, which is in poor condition, has secured a buyer named Steven Ostroff.

Ostroff is an attorney who owns more than 40 properties in the Frankford area, according to Krause. It’s unclear what he intends to do with the YMCA building, and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

“I looked up the properties that he owns, and I drove by them,” Krause said. “They’re not all in great shape.”

Krause said the civic association will fight any attempt to put a drug rehabilitation center on the site.

Proceeds from the sale of the building will go toward paying a $46,000 water bill lien, and the rest will be donated to other nonprofits, according to Krause.

As for National Wholesale Liquidators, which is in the former Kmart building, Krause said he heard a rumor that Wawa is interested in building a large store with a gas station on the property.

Residents at the Nov. 20 meeting also heard from Ken Detweiler, CEO of the Philadelphia Charter School for Arts and Sciences, which is located at the former H.R. Edmunds school.

“We’re trying to do more community outreach,” Detweiler told residents.

The school is K-8 and has an enrollment of 1,044 students, all of whom are from the 19124 ZIP code, according to Detweiler. It is operated by String Theory Schools.

In other news, members of the NCA discussed the possibility of restarting a Town Watch for the neighborhood.

Years ago, Northwood held meetings about forming a Town Watch group, but not enough people volunteered, Krause said. He said the neighborhood also hired private security to patrol the area in 2013. However, residents grew tired of paying a monthly fee, according to Krause.

Krause said the NCA will look into holding a meeting next month about a potential new Town Watch. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com

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