That's what neighbors in Cedar Park want to talk about at a community meeting Thursday night January 30th at People's Baptist Church at 5039 Baltimore Ave. at 6:30 p.m. On the agenda is a discussion about an informal plan to expand the Mercy Wellness Center, add parking, and possibly student housing via the taking of a string of bruised structures through eminent domain in the name of redeveloping the 5000 block of Baltimore Avenue.
Neighbors say the proposal was developing unbeknownst to them. That was the subject of a November meeting. “Some things were brought to light at that meeting,” David Hincher, Cedar Park Neighbors' development task force chair.
Thursday's meeting is hosted by the Baltimore Avenue Business Association and CPN, and will also address the issue of blight certification presented in the Phila 2035 University/Southwest District Plan, and advocate for community input regarding city owned vacant lots.
“We want to have an open and transparent process,” said Hincher.
At a November meeting, representatives of the Baltimore Avenue Redevelopment Corporation, a non-profit that essentially serves as landlord to the Wellness Center, confirmed that there was an informal proposal for the block. Also present at that meeting were representatives of the PRA (as well as members of the Planning Commission and BABA), who suggested that they were engaging in early investigations regarding the proposal.
According to Hincher, the PRA has declined an invite to Thursday's meeting because it says there is no plan for the proposal.
That’s one issue on the table at the meeting. Another is a term called blight certification that was used in the Phila2035 District Plan and points to 51st & 52nd & Baltimore. Neighbors want to fully understand that process, what it means, and what City entity to reach out to in order to be involved in the process.
This summer, neighbors hosted meetings about a potential garden center at this location, which involved a number of local interests. Could that still be on the table, or have bigger plans superseded it? Stay tuned.