A plan to turn the former Frankford YWCA into a therapeutic, education and recreation center drew skepticism last week at the Northwood Civic Association meeting.
Angenique Howard, head of a nonprofit called Unique Dreams Inc., told the Northeast Times in a phone interview that she has been in talks with the new owners of the property about the proposal.
“We’re not in an agreement… but we are in communication constantly,” she said.
The “Frankford Y,” 4704 Leiper St., was sold in December to a group including Steven Ostroff and Steve Mavrakis. Neither could be reached for comment for this story.
Unique Dreams would rent the entire space and provide family-based therapy, outpatient mental health treatment, after-school programs and services for children with autism, Howard said. She would also like to open up part of property as a community recreation center.
Howard and her team are planning to host a community meeting Monday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Simpson Recreation Center, 1010 Arrott St., to talk about Unique Dreams and her ideas for the property.
Howard’s posts on social media about the Frankford Y have sparked discussion in the Frankford and Northwood community, and some have questioned the viability of her plans.
Northwood Civic Association President Joe Krause noted that Howard does not have a lease agreement with the ownership group. He also raised doubts about where she would get the funding to carry out her ideas.
“She has no money,” Krause said at the March 19 meeting. “Her first video (on Facebook) was to ask everybody in the neighborhood for money, which immediately turned me off.”
Unique Dreams recently received tax-exempt status, Howard said in the interview. She said she is in the process of developing a business plan and would like to partner with Community Behavioral Health.
Other potential funding sources include donations, grants and partnerships, Howard said.
“We’re still very early on,” she said.
Howard, of Mt. Airy, has had her eye on the Frankford Y for a long time. She said she used to live in the Frankford area and previously ran a summer camp at Simpson.
She said her time spent with local children helped her recognize a need for behavioral health therapy in the neighborhood.
Howard promised Unique Dreams would not offer any drug and alcohol recovery programs at the Frankford Y.
As far as a potential lease, she said any agreement with the owners would likely come after renovations to the building–which is reportedly in bad condition–are close to completion. ••
Jack Tomczuk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org