May 4, 2015 |
At 86, Delores Clark is no homebody. Twice a week, she can be found at the local senior center perfecting her line-dancing skills, said daughter Brenda Jones. Her mother also bowls and travels regularly, she said. Although her hearing is not what it was - "She says I'm mumbling," Jones said - Clark won't move from the house on Melon Street in the city's Mantua section where she has lived since her father bought it for $2,000 when she was 9 years old. Like many elderly Philadelphians, however, Clark had trouble making needed repairs to the house, built in the 1920s, let alone changes such as grab bars that would make it easier for her to live there if her health truly became an issue for her. "There were two joists that split and needed to be replaced," Jones said, "and a lot of the plumbing repairs were patchwork.
April 16, 2015 |
DOLORES CLARK, 86, bowls on Friday afternoons at Liberty Lanes with her Nifty Fifty's seniors team and line dances on Tuesdays at the Older Adult Sunshine Center on 58th Street near Walnut. She lives a fiercely independent life in the Mantua rowhouse that her father bought in 1939, a former grocery store on Melon Street near 39th that he turned into her beloved childhood home. When Clark's adult children tried to persuade her to move into an assisted living community, she refused.
March 16, 2015 |
A carriage house on North 35th Street is home to one of Mantua's more successful businessmen. Rick Young is a real estate developer who also teaches entrepreneurship at a local elementary school, hoping to inspire the next Ford or Facebook. Now 50, Young has a success story that started when he was just 19. While recording hits such as "We Could Be Lovers" for his record label, the Beat Factory, he worked at a Domino's pizza franchise at the University of Pennsylvania campus.
January 18, 2015 |
At some city public schools, there is no recess at all - deep budget cuts mean there are not enough adults to monitor students' playtime. But at McMichael Elementary in Mantua, children troop out onto the schoolyard in orderly lines, pledge to be respectful and kind, then break out into orderly but joyous games of football, dodgeball and foursquare - blowing off steam with a genial man known as Coach Steve. McMichael is one of 13 Philadelphia School District schools and three city charters that use Playworks, a nonprofit that places a full-time staffer in schools to structure recess.
December 12, 2014 |
FOR TWO YEARS, James Dupree fought City Hall over its plan to use eminent domain to seize his Mantua art studio and museum to make room for a grocery store and parking lot. Yesterday, Dupree reclaimed the deed to his 8,600-square-foot studio. At a meeting Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority board dropped its condemnation of Dupree's massive studio and galleries, which stretch across three addresses along Haverford Avenue near 36th Street. Brian Abernathy, the authority's executive director, announced the decision yesterday.
September 8, 2014 |
Federal housing Secretary Julián Castro visited the West Philadelphia Promise Zone on Friday, but not everyone went along on the tour. Angry members of the Mantua Civic Association, one of the main local groups working for change, said they weren't invited. "I thought it was supposed to be collaborative," said association president DeWayne Drummond, who stood, steaming, outside the tour starting point at the Mount Vernon Manor apartments while Castro, Mayor Nutter, Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, and others went inside.
September 5, 2014 |
The feds promised to help West Philadelphia. And now a cabinet secretary is showing up to take a look around. Julián Castro, head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, will tour parts of the new Promise Zone on Friday, as two local institutions commence a $4 million initiative to transform early childhood education in a troubled part of the city. The effort, led by the William Penn Foundation and Drexel University, seeks to double the number of neighborhood children in high-quality child care within three years.
September 4, 2014 |
Hoping to stabilize the dilapidated West Philadelphia neighborhood of Mantua, the city wants to entice police officers and firefighters to move into the struggling area - with cash to help buy homes and pay taxes on them. Officials think having police and firefighters living in Mantua and interacting as neighbors with residents would improve the quality of life in the area. But even with the cash incentives, the initial $200,000 program could be a hard sell. "It's a good idea," said Joe Schulle, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 22. "However, our guys are still going to be reluctant to move into transient neighborhoods if they have kids and families.
August 27, 2014 |
In neighborhoods such as Fishtown and Northern Liberties, arts and artists stimulated big growth and new vitality. In battered Mantua - the heart of a new federal Promise Zone - it can seem as if the arts departed with the people. Now, a team of Drexel University faculty and students is offering a plan to support a growing number of artists as a way to lift an area pulverized by crime, poverty, and unemployment. "It's not art for art's sake, it's art for the sake of the good of the neighborhood," said Andrew Zitcer, an assistant teaching professor at Drexel who studies urban policy.
August 15, 2014 |
Like every great home cook, Josephine Samuel has one legendary signature dish. "My mother showed me how to do fried chicken and how you make it taste real good," said Samuel, a Mantua resident. But, she added wistfully, "You can't eat fried chicken every night. " So, she enrolled in "Local Culinary Traditions," a new, free course offering from Drexel University's Center for Hospitality and Sports Management that invites West Philadelphia residents and any Drexel students to collaborate in documenting beloved family recipes and experimenting with making them healthier.