Commander Dana Potak, the officer in charge of the Naval Support Activity unit at 700 Robbins Ave., attended last week’s Lawncrest Community Association meeting to address several concerns.
State Rep. Jared Solomon has worked with neighbors Heather Miller, Kathy Wersinger and others to identify issues.
One of those issues is the unsightly Dumpsters on site. Potak will move the Dumpsters and change the pickup time.
Potak also hopes to get funding to add lighting to the area near Godfrey Avenue.
As for the trash and dog dirt on the perimeter of the property, he plans to add signage and cameras, make 311 reports and organize volunteer cleanups.
Neighbors questioned the continued closure of Robbins Avenue. In the early 2000s, the base said publicly that Robbins needed to close due to post-9/11 security measures. Privately, the base told neighbors Robbins closed due to Fels students harassing employees and vandalizing their cars. Fels has since moved a little south of its previous location. Robbins Avenue is on federal government property, and Potak said military regulations do not permit him to permanently reopen it. The road will continue to reopen for special events such as flea markets and car shows.
In other news from the March 17 meeting:
• Mark Mroz, community relations officer in the 2nd Police District, encouraged people to make donations to the United Ukrainian American Relief Committee, 1206 Cottman Ave. Mroz also thanked Jared Solomon, the Philadelphia Protestant Home’s Bill Conaway, businessman Sergio Polyakov and Take Back Your Neighborhood’s Pam Baranackie for helping to clear trash and debris from a house near Loretto Avenue and McKinley Street, a hoarding problem the city ignored. The officer said four arrests have been made in a recent carjacking/murder on the 2100 block of Afton St. An arrest has been made in a murder on the 5500 block of Whitaker Ave. No arrests have been made in a murder at a storage facility on the 6200 block of Oxford Ave. and in the killing of an 18-year-old near Loretto Avenue and Levick Street. Catalytic converters have been stolen from the U-Haul at 7750 Roosevelt Blvd. Mroz has unsuccessfully tried to convince U-Haul management to hire security, like the nearby Gary Barbera auto dealership.
Anonymous crime tips can be submitted by emailing tips@PhillyPolice.com or calling/texting 215-686-TIPS.
• The LCA heard from the owner of 426-28 Sentner St. and his lawyer, Leo Mulvihill Jr. Owner Mario Garza wants to build an outdoor back porch and enclosed structure for two parking spots. A Zoning Board of Adjustment hearing is scheduled for April 27. The property has been vacant and in disrepair for several years. Neighbors said they do not oppose the construction, but still had questions about setbacks. The applicant will return to the LCA’s April 21 meeting.
• The owner of 555 Van Kirk St. [at Palmetto Street] said she is trying to open a daycare for five children in the basement, along with an after-school program. Hours would be 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The LCA agreed to back her for the daycare but not the after-school program due to the small size of the basement.
• At LCA’s April 21 meeting, it will hear from the owner of 565-67 Van Kirk St. The properties, already triplexes, will need to be legalized as duplexes.
At a future meeting, the LCA will consider a proposed special assembly license for the former Crestlawn American Legion Post 832, which is for sale. Post 832 could not survive coronavirus lockdowns.
• Heather Miller resigned as treasurer because she is running for the open 203rd Legislative District. Miller explained that the Legislative Reapportionment Commission moved the areas in Lawncrest and Castor Gardens represented by Jared Solomon and Isabella Fitzgerald, adding that the community will miss them. Miller is a neighborhood activist who has taken part in food giveaways and neighborhood cleanups, along with working to stop construction of a Royal Farms to preserve green space. Bill Dolbow, the LCA president, is backing Miller in his capacity as Democratic leader of the 35th Ward. However, ward leaders Ralph Lett and Pete Lyde are supporting Anthony Bellmon, an aide to U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle. Yusuf Jackson is also running in the primary.
• A 5K run will take place in October to raise money for the Lawncrest Recreation Center. ••