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East Falls News

Check out East Falls' Big Bellies!!

The City of Philadelphia has installed their new solar powered trash cans in East Falls!  Thanks to the Commerce Department, there are 8 new trash cans in the area of Ridge and Midvale Avenues.  The Big Bellies are good for a number of reasons.  First, they will replace the wire basket trash cans that are open at the top, resulting in trash constantly being blown around when the plastic bag gets blown inside out.  Second, the Big Bellies hold five times the trash as a wire basket.  Third, they are solar powered compacting.  Fourth, four of them came with a side-by-side recycle bin.  And fifth, they look neater and cleaner and may have the opportunity for a sign on the side.  This is one great way that the Commerce Department supports the Riverfront Business District...East Falls and Philly go GREEN!


The Trolley Car Cafe in its preconstruction days...


Business Improvement District in East Falls

The East Falls Business Improvement District (BID) is moving forward. A BID is an area where local property owners get together and decide to assess themselves to provide needed services. The Steering Committee for the East Falls BID, chaired by Nancy Karahuta and Mark Sherman, held an open meeting for business and property owners on October 28th at the Sherman Mills. At this meeting, they outlined the service area and the services to be provided. They sought and received good input into the process. As a result, the Steering Committee plans to have legislation introduced in the Spring of 2009.

The services to be provided include marketing, incentives for facade improvements, security cameras, and signage. Over the first five years, cleaning and maps will be added. The service area is bounded by Ridge Avenue from Scotts Lane to School House Lane (including Ali Baba's Limo Service), Midvale Avenue from Kelly Drive to Conrad Street, and Scotts Lane from Ridge to the Falls Center. Excluded from the assessment will be owner occupied properties with three or fewer units and with no commercial use. All other properties will be assessed, including commercial properties and those properties with tax abatements.

Currently, the plan is to begin the assessments in the summer of 2009 with the BID services to begin in October. The EFDC will be supporting the BID through administrative staffing. The BID will be governed by a committee of the EFDC that will have both elected and appointed representatives.

Attending the meeting was Al Spivey Jr., from the office of Councilman Curtis Jones Jr.; Councilman Jones and Mr. Spivey are supportive of the BID and will be working with the Steering Committee and the EFDC to have the legislation drafted.

The Steering Committee will be continuing to meet. If you would like more information, please contact Mr. Sherman at Sherman Properties, Ms. Karahuta at East River Bank, or Gina Snyder at the EFDC.

A Philadelphia Landmark is lit!

On January 12 the Falls Bridge’s new Lighting was officially turned on by Governor Edward G. Rendell, Mayor Michael A. Nutter, State Senator Vincent Hughes, State Representatives Kathy Manderino and Jewell Williams, and City Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. They were joined by about 1000 people who came to the party to celebrate the new look in East Falls.

Cookies, hot cocoa and coffee were waiting for the guests at Kelly Drive and Midvale Avenue. The ceremony began with opening remarks from East Falls Development Corporation’s President Carolyn Sutton. She and EFDC Director Gina Snyder were presented with an official citation celebrating the lighting from Councilman Jones. Rep. Manderino then introduced Mayor Nutter, who was then welcomed East Falls resident Gov. Rendell. They were later joined by Senator Arlen Specter, another East Falls neighbor.

The nighttime look is a new landmark for Philadelphia. The bridge highlights Philadelphia’s identity as a “New River City” and announces the community with a strong visual marker.

Grenald Waldron and Associates (GWA) did the beautiful lighting design. The electrical contractor, Carr and Duff, did the work with Urban Engineers as the inspectors. .As an added benefit, there is now a permanent signed and marked pedestrian crossing on the Martin Luther King Drive side of the Bridge.

This project was many years in the planning. The idea was instigated during East Falls’ 100 year anniversary celebration of the bridge in 1995. The current project was led by the East Falls Development Corporation a Because of financial limitations, only the downriver side of the bridge is lit.

GWA’s designer Sandra Stashik, was guided by the Falls Bridge Lighting Committee, that included East Falls residents, Sandra Radich, an architect with Cope Linder; Julie Camburn, President of the East Falls Business Association; Carolyn Sutton, President of the EFDC; and, Ellen Sheehan, President of the East Falls Historical Society. The committee also included Stephanie Craighead, Deputy Director of the Fairmount Park Commission, and Lane Fike and Joe Doyle from the Streets Department’s Bridge and Lighting Divisions, respectively. This committee worked with Grenald Waldron to present the design to the East Falls Community Council where it was enthusiastically endorsed.

Coordinating the project also took extra efforts from Joseph Certaine in the Governor’s Office, Southeast Region, Jim Donaghy from the Managing Director’s Office, and Streets Commissioner Clarena Tolson.

Lighting the Falls Bridge was funded through a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Community and Economic Development. The project and January 12th lighting event would not have been possible without the encouraging support of Governor Rendell and significant contributions from Mark Sherman of Sherman Properties, FX Duffy & Co. Accountants, Urban Engineers, East River Bank and Independence Blue Cross. Funding was also provided by Cope Linder Architects, Robert Brasler, Sunoco Inc., PECO, and the East Falls Community Council and Riverfront District Partners. Contributors included Dorothy Storm of Prudential Fox & Roach, Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, Gypsy Lane Franco’s Trattoria, Gilbert Rowe, Connie Gillespie of Elfant Wissahickon Realtors, and the East Falls Business Association. Tom and Arlen Leschak of Conrad Catering and Alma Catering kindly donated the cookies and hot cocoa.

Dotting the “i”s and crossing all the “t”s was a team of party-planning volunteers from the EFDC. They included Greg O’Loughlin, Heidi Grunwald, Steve Ohm, Gilbert Rowe, Sandra Radich, Ed Delisle, and Lorina Marshall-Blake. East River Bank was especially supportive, through President Chris McGill, Branch Manager Nancy Karahuta, and Vice President Rose Siegel: The Redevelopment Authority, Executive Director Michael Koonce, and Robert LaBrum are especially appreciated for allowing the use of the Rivage lot for event parking.

Expanded Parking in East Falls

The parking lot under the Twin Bridges has 50 spaces. It is located under Rte. 1 (The Twin Bridges), between Ridge Avenue and Kelly Drive. The lot is operated by the EFDC, with input from local business owners. Day permits are available at $25 per month.  24/7 permits are available for residents at $45 per month.