Nonprofit stages comeback on E. Passyunk Ave
SOUTH PHILADELPHIA - March 29, 2011 (WPVI) -- The nonprofit organization that had a stake in revitalizing East Passyunk Avenue in South Philadelphia has returned.
It was two years ago that Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods collapsed, a victim of mishandling by former state senator Vince Fumo - that, according to the court case that put Fumo in jail. Now the group is back up and running in South Philadelphia, with a new name.
It's called the Passyunk Avenue Revitalization Corporation (PARC). The group has resumed its neighborhood cleaning program and has big plans for the future.
Workers were on the job Tuesday cleaning the fountain area in the square at East Passyunk Avenue and Tasker Street. Red maple and plum trees will soon be planted along the square and avenue. And PARC's new executive director, Sam Sherman, is planning new lighting for the area.
"They're high-intensity lighting devices that are mounted high up," said Sherman, pointing to two area rooftops. "The lighting will come from the roof there and the roof here, and it will come down and spotlight the fountain from afar."
The fountain fence will be replaced with benches and a chess table.
"It is modeled after what they have in Central Park, and it will activate the square. People will be able to sit here with their children and have a cup of coffee. There are coffee shops all over the place," said Sherman.
There are also restaurants on every corner of the square. Tables are expected to be placed in the square for outside dining.
PARC'S rebirth follows lengthy litigation and a long list of recommendations for its re-launch. The organization's services were suspended in 2009, after its co-founder, Vince Fumo, was found guilty of defrauding it of more than a million dollars.
PARC has since sold or is planning to sell a number of assets, including two trash trucks and a dump truck, to eliminate debt. Also up for sale are several paintings purchased by Fumo using money from the Citizen's Alliance, and Fumo's former office on Tasker Street.
After a competitive bidding process the neighborhood cleaning contract was awarded to ABM Janitorial Services.
"Of course spring is taking its time getting here. We are expecting a blitz of all the neighborhoods. It's going to have a terrific impact," said ABM's Samatha Gable. "We are the green machine. We will start at Broad and Snyder and work our way up to Pat's Steaks."
ABM's Lardner Knight said his crews' work will have a big effect. "As the weather gets warmer you'll start seeing us bring our pressure washers and start cleaning the whole corridor," said Knight. "You're really going to see a transformation as we get into April and May."
For more on the East Passyunk Corridor Business District, click here.
philadelphia, corruption, pennsylvania, south philadelphia, local/state, lisa thomas-laury
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