East Falls Local

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Category: Gina Snyder (EFDC)

Bon Voyage, Gina!

The former EFDC Executive Director exchanges an office space for a year-long adventure in the south of France.

Wow, what a surprise! One minute Gina Snyder’s planning a boat landing and next year’s Dance on the Falls Bridge, the next she’s off to the south of France. From Ridge Ave to Marseille, a fishing port on the Mediterranean, in a heartbeat. We had no idea (and neither did many other Fallsers) until she made the announcement late last month.

We’re sorry to see her go, but are excited at the prospect of her tooling around the ancient streets of France’s 2nd largest city. She won’t be leaving us just yet though. She has tendered her resignation but agreed to stay on with EFDC until a replacement can be brought up to speed (sometime this summer).

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What About Conrad?

The possibilities for economic development on one of the Falls’ original business corridors.

Conrad Street serves East Falls wonderfully and is a valuable part of our neighborhood. We help support it through regular street cleaning and we’ve helped Conrad businesses get outdoor seating, zoning variances, and have provided other assistance with utility companies and the like.

We do receive questions occasionally from business owners and neighbors about development plans along Conrad and if there are other resources available to assist businesses. I’ve responded to a few below:

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Ridge to the Future!

Giant apartment complexes and new business are popping up on Ridge Avenue. Is this finally the tipping point for the East Falls business district? Gina Snyder of the EF Development Corporation gives us her take on where we’re at and where we’re going.

With all the changes occurring on Ridge Ave., EF Local asked me a few questions to get my perspective on where the Falls was, where it is, and where it’s going. Given such a big issue, I was glad to have the input and expertise of a couple EFDC board members in coming up with these answers.

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What’s After Manana’s?

Johnny Manana’s is gone, but Gina Snyder of the EFDC believes the future looks bright at the corner of Ridge and Midvale.

What’s going on at Ridge and Midvale?” We’ve heard that question a lot after the news that Johnny Manana’s closed recently, after 15 years in the Falls. My answer is always the same – the future looks good at that corner! The closing of Manana’s has opened up an opportunity for a new eatery to take its place.

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Gently Down the Stream

Earlier this summer, Gina Snyder and her family scored a second-hand canoe they couldn’t wait to try out.  Rowing was a dream — but portage hammered home how much we need public river access. 

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For over ten years, the EFDC has been working to bring East Falls back to our river. Before my children were born, I took a kayak ride to tour the new river landing site and to better understand the river.

Last week, my husband Dave and I took our two sons out on our “new to us” canoe.  One son wanted to fish, the other was just thrilled to be on an adventure. Dave wanted to give his new toy a whirl, and I wanted our children to experience the river, and how close-by we live.

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Zoning with the Flow

Too much traffic on Ridge? Not enough parking? A proposed parking lot and through street between Ridge Ave. and Kelly Drive could improve both.

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Tomorrow night’s joint East Falls Forward/EFCC zoning meeting (7PM at Downs Hall, PhilaU,  interactive map here OR driving directions here) could have big repercussions for traffic and parking on Ridge Ave., East Falls’ own rush hour cattle chute. A proposal to design a parking lot that would eventually become a through street between Ridge and Kelly Drive will be open for discussion. 

Gina Snyder, of the East Falls Development Corporation, gets us up to speed on the history of the site and the issues at hand:

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Long Time Coming for Ridge Flats — UPDATED

Almost twenty years of community planning may finally transform the East Falls Riverfront Business District!Rivage renderings.5.9.Birdseye View Looking North

(Editor’s note): Just in time for tonight’s big Rivage presentation (7PM at Downs Hall, PhilaU,  Interactive map here): a plea from the opposition! Scott Cameron’s email arrived last week, and we’ve since been back & forth with him about Grasso Holding’s new project at Ridge/Kelly/Calumet, up for zoning this week. To put it lightly, Scott is not happy about the plans.

To be completely honest, we’re not entirely sure we follow Mr. Cameron’s argument — doesn’t help that he declined to provide supporting info when we asked. Still, his letter reflects a vocal minority that some East Fallsers blame for the trash-strewn, empty lot at the heart of our business district for almost 20 years.

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Setting the Record Straight on Ridge

Answering lingering neighborhood questions about the proposed Pennrose apartment building on Ridge Avenue

Pennrose Site

Ever since it was announced in January 2015 that Pennrose Management Company would be developing the vacant plot of land at Ridge Ave. and Merrick Street (across from East River Bank), there’s been some buzz about who’s building it, who’ll live there, and the size of the development.

There’s also been discussion about promises made as a result of the litigation around the redevelopment of Schuylkill Falls that was demolished about 20 years ago.

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PLANNING NOTES by Gina Snyder

What’s doing in East Falls business and development? Gina Snyder looks ahead to goals for 2016, including revamped digs, bridge repairs, and an exciting new landscaping plan for Mifflin’s rock garden (fingers crossed). 

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Hope 2016 has been good to you all so far (and fingers crossed that spring will be here soon)! A quick update on the latest EFDC developments:

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New Digs

Last year, we bought a building for our office at 4133 Ridge Avenue.  We are planning interior renovations and will be working on a design for the exterior this year.  The building offers several benefits:

Great location. It’s located at an entrance to the Riverfront Business District (on the corner of Ridge and the Ridge Avenue exit ramps from Route 1). It also has a large visible side wall that is perfect for a gateway message, and it is directly across the street from the parking lot we maintain at 4100 Ridge Ave.

Sublet opportunity. The office has the potential to sublet space to a professional who is looking for an office outside of the home – we have wi-fi, security, and parking.  If you know someone who might be interested, please contact me.

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Cleaner and Greener

We continue several programs aimed at keeping the river cleaner for wildlife and as a source of drinking water.

We run an afterschool program at Mifflin School to educate children about the importance of clean water, we monitor the storm water bumpouts along Queen Lane at the reservoir, and are working with the Mifflin School and the Friends of Mifflin on putting together a campus master plan.

The idea is to apply to the Community Design Collaborative (a non-profit that provides free architectural and landscape architectural assistance), to participate in the school’s landscape program.  The Collaborative has designed a number of school landscape plans and has even published a booklet about them.

If we are accepted, the Friends of Mifflin and EFDC will run a community process to get everyone’s opinions as to what would be the best use for the Mifflin land.

Last Fall, the Friends of Mifflin, a committee of the East Falls Community Council, introduced the project to their partners, who include the people who clean up the “Lost Arboretum,” and the project was accepted.

We are now waiting for the Collaborative to determine whether it has the resources to assist us.  All of these projects are supported by the Philadelphia Water Department.

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Remapping and Rezoning

We have been busy remapping and rezoning a number of small portions of the Riverfront Business District.  This has been a lengthy process.

After the Philadelphia Zoning Code was updated in 2012, the City Planning Commission planned to systematically look at the entire City’s current zoning to correct and make changes.

We went through a planning process with our planner, Matt Wysong, that resulted in the “Lower Northwest Plan” that was adopted by the Planning Commission in 2014.

Matt and his team then conducted a detailed review of East Falls and proposed changes to align the zoning with long-term actual uses of parcels in our area.

We are jointly working with East Falls Community Council and East Falls Forward, the two Registered Community Organizations of East Falls.

Once there is general agreement about the changes, the next step will be to ask Councilman Jones to introduce legislation that will implement the zoning modifications.

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Take ‘Em to the Bridge

Yep, the temporary closing of the Falls Bridge is a bit of a pain, but the 120 year old structure needed some work.  The project is expected to be finished by early April (we hope in plenty of time for the Dance on the Bridge on September 17!)

We’re glad to see so many runners, pedestrians, and cyclists continuing to use the bridge during the repairs.

We hope one of our favorite landmarks is back to its rock solid self as soon as possible. In the meantime, we‘ve noticed a marked decline in traffic on Ridge Avenue in the morning, which is a great relief for all East Fallsers.

Questions or Suggestions?

Contact me at 215 848-8084 or ginasnyder@eastfallsdevelopment.org

EFDC: Hooray for East Falls Business!

EFDC’s Gina Snyder shouts out to our supportive community of local services and industries that help make our neighborhood a great place to live. 

EastFallsLocal collage big cheers small business

Lately I have been thinking about how wonderful it is to work with small businesses in East Falls.  When there is a call to action, there is a core group of folks who always step up to the plate.

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