Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Center Opens

The new Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center officially opened on December 20th in West Philadelphia, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal.  The $110 million, 160,000-square-foot facility located at 48th and Haverford Avenue provides a range of services for teens and young adults from ages 13 through 20.

The main function of the facility is to provide a short-term residential detention facility with social and educational programs and help guide those accused or found guilty of crimes away from further illegal conduct.  The facility is equipped with 10 classrooms, a gymnasium, a health clinic, outdoor recreation spaces and a garden for residents.  Visitation space includes a play area where volunteers can baby-sit young children and rooms where youth can meet with their families, lawyers, social-service providers and probation officers.  Family Court courtrooms, Judges' chambers and conference rooms are also on site.  This is the largest project constructed by the city to meet LEED standards.  It will also serve as a pilot site for a city-wide effort to employ more women and minority contractors in public projects.


Market East; Realizing it's Full Potential

Despite having rich cultural neighborhoods like Washington Square and China Town, an outstanding transit infrastructure, and attractions like Independence Mall, the Convention Center, and other historic sites, Market East continues to struggle to live up to its full potential, and the city itself consistently lacks in pushing for positive drastic change.  There have been many case studies on how to revive the district but still very little action and a lot of opinion.

One such plan I will discuss, although many drawing have yet to be released to the public, was done by EE&K.  Their plan for Market East creates a vision that is integral with strategy.  One that is not dominated by one use or project, but is characterized by the diversity of forms and activities that have marked Market Street's colorful history.  The plan anchors itself on supporting a more sustainable future for the City by promoting transit ridership, leveraging the city's existing investment in one of the richest transit hubs found in an American City, and improving street-level air quality.

Their vision is based on key strategies for restoring Market Street's role as Philadelphia's Main Street: bringing everyone onto Market Street, focusing on places instead of projects by improving Market Street's pedestrian environment; promoting a mix of uses; and creating a new expanded intermodal transit center.  The plan also creates opportunities for Chinatown and Jefferson to expand and envisions bold new connections to the Delaware River Waterfront and adjacent loft district.


LGBT Senior Housing, Underway With Improved Design

Much Improved rendering

Developers broke ground in late October on Philadelphia's first LGBT-friendly low-income senior housing complex in the heart of Philadelphia's LGBT neighborhoods.  The $19 million project, a first of its kind is being funded with city, state and federal funds.  Resident eligibility requires that you be at least 62 year of age and earn less than 60 percent of the Philadelphia median income.

Old rendering

The project is being co-developed by the Dr. Manus Hirschfeld Fund (dmh), and Pennrose Properties.  The six- story building will be located at 13th and Locust Streets.  It will contain 56 one-bedroom units, a 5,000 square-foot enclosed courtyard, and multipurpose spaces that residents and the larger community can use.  Nearly 2,000 square-feet of retail space will front 13th street, Construction is said to be completed by late 2013.

Philly Trails Gain Much Needed State Funding

Nearly a dozen regional trail projects received state funding late last month, 3 of them are Philadelphia projects.  The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources awarded $1.7 million in Community Conservation Partnerships Program grants to trail projects in Southeastern Pennsylvania.  All of the Philadelphia projects received funding through the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.

The three projects that received funding are;

Manayunk Bridge- awarded $500,000 toward developing a multi-use trail on the historic concrete bridge that spans the Schuylkill River connecting Philadelphia and Lower Merion Township, providing a link between the Cynwood Heritage Trail and the Schuylkill River Trail.  The $3.5 million project is divided by a unique arrangement between SEPTA, Lower Merion Township and the City of Philadelphia.  As owner of the bridge, SEPTA has leased the structure to Lower Merion Township, leaving the construction portion to the City of Philadelphia.  Maintenance will be divided between the City and Lower Merion.  The City has obtained $3.15 million of the estimated $3.5 million through a combination of sources.  Construction will begin in late 2013.

Poquessing Creek Trail- Received $500,000 for construction of a 1.5 mile loop connecting Junod Playground to Poquessing Creek park and the Benjamin Rush State Park.

Schuylkill River Trail- Received $500,000 toward extending the current trail 1,200 feet from South Street to Christian street.  Plans are to get the Schuylkill River Trail to Bartram's Garden, with an ultimate plan to extend the trail further to Fort Mifflin in South Philadelphia.  In recent construction, crew poured concrete for the boardwalk footings that will link Locust Street to the South Street Bridge.


Spruce Street Plaza; Sprucing Up Spruce

Spruce Street Plaza, which began renovation back in July of a former parking lot, will soon stand as the green gateway to Penn's Medical campus, integrating and providing more accessibility to surrounding institutions.

The $2.5 million plaza designed by Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects, will now sport plenty of seating for museum and hospital employees and visitors to relax and commune, new trees and shrubs all planted around a curving permeably paved path, surrounding a newly sodded lawn.