(Photo by Albert Hong)
North Philly Peace Park (NPPP), a community garden and gathering space in the Sharswood neighborhood, and the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) have never been on the best terms with each other.
The reason why NPPP, founded by Tommy Joshua, is at its current location on the corner of 22nd and Jefferson streets is because of PHA’s plan in 2015 to redevelop the land on which the park’s previously long-held location on Bolton Street resided. After months of disagreement and conflict between the two groups, with the housing authority even fencing off the land that the park was previously located on, an agreement was eventually reached for NPPP to rebuild at its new space.
But a recent post on NPPP’s Facebook page seems to indicate that the relationship between the two groups is getting better.
The July 4 post states that NPPP “has achieved a long-term, multi-decade lease from the Philadelphia Housing Authority and has conclusively secured the park’s recognition as a permanent community-controlled green space in Sharswood, North Philadelphia.”
“The Peace Park shall remain strong and will grow and prosper for generations to come as an autonomous urban charitable ecology campus dutifully serving the women, children and seniors of North Philadelphia,” the post reads.
Last we talked with the folks at NPPP late last year, the group was working to crowdfund for the creation of the Sala Nkrumah Institute for Creative Labor, a space that would host free after-school enrichment programs with a focus on a STEM curriculum. They reached the $20K goal, and it sounds like plans are underway for construction to start sometime this summer.
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This news of the agreement between NPPP and the PHA comes at a time when Domus Inc., the developer tasked with reconstructing the Norman Blumberg Apartments where NPPP’s original plot stood, apparently sued the PHA for “breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violations of the Contractor-Subcontractor Payment Act,” according to Law360.