On February 13, 2018, North10 hosted a community meeting at Bethune Elementary School to discuss the recent closing of the Liberty Motel and to talk with community members about what they would like to see happen with the space, as well as the larger community.
We were interested in hearing more about what needs the community members of East Tioga and Hunting Park have and how they want to see their neighborhoods improved. There was a great discussion about job opportunities, affordable housing resources, and community spaces for socializing, educating, and working together.
Bethune principal, Jemina Dingle, opened the meeting with a few remarks:
North10 CEO, Joshua Klaris, a former principal and long-time educator, shared the mission and purpose of North10, highlighting that it is an organization created to serve as a “community quarterback”*—North10 seeks to work with Hunting Park’s and East Tioga’s local organizations, stakeholders, and community members to build a coalition and develop strategies to improve outcomes for the people there. (*Read more about the “Purpose-Built Community” model here.)
Michelle Taylor, North10’s Director of Community Partnerships and Strategy, asked attendees: “What would you like to see happen in your neighborhood and in this space? What are the greatest needs here?“
Members worked in small groups to come up with lists of ideas. Some of the responses included:
- Senior Center
- Community Center for Teenagers
- Community Shared Workspace
- Health Center
- Grocery Store/ Supermarket
- After-school Center
- Skating Rink
- Gym/ Fitness Center
- Employment Resource Center
- Adult Education Center
Council President, Darrell Clarke, attended the meeting and shared a few words with the group. He thanked Chase Lenfest for his investments into the Lenfest Center and into North10 and he thanked the community organizations and members for showing up and working together for the betterment of their neighborhoods.
Several organizations were represented at the event including: Called To Serve CDC; Hunting Park RC/ NAC, Hunting Park United, Nicetown-Tioga Improvement Team, Lenfest Center, Lenfest Center Parent Committee, Temple University School of Medicine, EARTHs, Inc., Blessings, Inc. youth organization, the Office of the Council President, the City of Philadelphia, and, of course, Bethune Elementary School.
Over the next 10 months, North10 will work with a steering committee, comprised of several of the organizations mentioned above, to develop a strategic plan for the development of the area that houses the former Liberty Motel, Carmen’s Skating rink, and the associated open lots. We received a grant from the Commerce Department to work on this plan, so we assembled a steering committee of community stakeholders who are invested in the neighborhood’s future.
The steering committee met for the first time on January 17, 2018 and we have developed the following timeline:
North10 would like to thank everyone for attending and spreading the word about the event. It was inspiring to see and feel so much energy in the room. We look forward to working with community members and organizational leadership to develop a vision and strategy for these neighborhoods.