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Neighborhood updates for Fishtown

Fishtown Neighbors Association hosts monthly general membership meeting.

Fishtown Neighbors Association held its general monthly membership meeting on Wednesday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.

Board members briefed residents on various community updates.

Jon Geeting, FNA board president, kicked off the meeting.

FNA will partner once again with Friends of Penn Treaty School to raise funds for the  second annual Penn Treaty Neighborhood Scholarship, Geeting announced.

“We’re looking to raise two $5,000 scholarships for high school seniors graduating from Penn Treaty School, who will be pursuing post-school plans,” he said. “If you’re inclined to donate, we’d love to have your support.”

Saturday, April 23, will be Fishtown Day at the Phillies.

Tickets are being sold for $30 a ticket or a discounted family four pack at $100, with $11 from each ticket going to FNA. 

FNA will host a tailgate.

That’s going to be a lot of fun,” Geeting said. “We’ll have a little bit of a social time before the game.”

This Thursday, March 24, the 20th annual March Academic Madness will take place at Shissler Rec Center.

The neighborhood competition staple pits local schools students in grade 3 from 8 against each other in a spirited, fun academic tournament.

FNA put out a request for volunteers.

“That’s something FNA has been a sponsor of for 20 years. A.J. Thomson has been organizing it for many years,” Geeting said. “We’re excited to see these long-standing traditions continue and they rely on neighbors’ support.”

Board member Jen Gow reminded residents to change smoke alarm batteries.

“We just want to make sure our community is safe, and one of the best ways to keep everyone safe is to be proactive about it,” she said.

Lee Nentwig, commercial corridor manager for New Kensington Community Development Corporation, gave updates about the NKCDC Garden Center and lot usage.

“This year, it will be reopened to full capacity and we’ll start accepting rentals for private, public and community events,” said Nentwig about the garden center.

FNA hosts its annual Meet the Neighbors and First Fridays at the site.

Dates for those events will be announced soon, according to Geeting.

NKCDC is accepting proposals for use of its vacant lot at 2211 Frankford Ave.

“We’re interested in uses that will be beneficial to the neighborhood and in line with NKCDC’s mission as an organization,” Nentwig said. 

The approximate size is 6,000 square feet. There are benches on the property. There is not currently water or power hooked up at the site.

“We are pretty open to potential uses,” Nentwig added. 

Nicole Westerman, director of real estate and economic development at NKCDC, addressed a question about the park at the southwest corner of Susquehanna and Frankford avenues.

“Before the pandemic, we’d promised to have a community engagement process to talk about what the permanent uses of that property should be,” she said. “And then the pandemic happened, so we did not move that process forward.”

An art installation and a labyrinth have since been placed at the site, with the agreement with the artists ending soon, according to Westerman.

“We’re gearing up to engage as many community residents as possible in a process of thinking about what those properties should be in the longer term,” she said.

Changing directions, FNA board member Sarah McAnulty spoke about Fishtown Trivia Night, which was hosted by FNA at Starboard Side Tavern on Friday, March 11.

“It was a delight. We had about 40 people show up. It was super fun, so we’re going to do it again,” she said.

The next Fishtown Trivia Night will be held Friday, April 15, at 7 p.m. at the Starboard Side Tavern, 2500 E. Norris St.

Fishtown Recreation Center pool, commonly known as The Swimmo, is looking for lifeguards for the summer, McAnulty shared. 

State Rep. Joe Hohenstein was a guest speaker at Wednesday’s meeting.

Geeting prefaced his introduction with FNA’s stance as a nonprofit organization that does not endorse political candidates, and other 177th race candidates had been invited.

“We’re planning to have a candidate meet-and-greet, mixer-type event just so people can talk to and meet the people who are running,” he said. “As a nonprofit, we have to give equal time to everyone.”

Hohenstein provided updates about legislation he has been working on.

“Two big policy updates I wanted people to know about are, a hearing I testified at about the streeteries legislation that had been passed through City Council,” he said. “Talking about the idea that the application fees, additional architectural renderings, if streeteries could not be charged by electric wiring from the building. There were a lot of problems with the way the regulations had been put out.”

Hohenstein said the city “had gone back to the drawing board.”

Hohenstein also provided an update on a package of bills, the Residential Construction Protection Act.

“There’s a lemon law for new construction that goes bad that is not covered under home warranties,” he said. “And, there’s the home improvement consumer protection act, requiring flippers to be registered and would have to have a separate license for that work.”

After Hohenstein answered various questions about neighborhood concerns, Geeting wrapped up the meeting, giving details about the upcoming April meeting.

“It has a sustainability Earth Day theme,” he said. “We have a number of sustainability-themed speakers. We’ll be talking about trash and recycling. We’ll see everybody soon.” ••

The next FNA general membership meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 20.

For updates about Fishtown Neighbors Association, visit fishtown.org.com.

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