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Tolentine Community Center’s lease will not be renewed

After two years of negotiations for a lease extension for the Tolentine Community Center, which has been located at 11th and Mifflin for 25 years, the city has decided that the center’s lease will not be extended.

Once you get past the bushes...

All of the center’s community services currently provided will be suspended as of August 29.

More on the announcement of the center’s closing from a Letter to the Editor from Tolentine Board President, Anna Mattei, in the South Philly Review:

Tolentine’s attempts over the past two years to negotiate a city lease extension or a new city lease have not been successful. On Aug. 20, Tolentine was officially notified in writing by Michael DiBerardinis, commissioner of the Parks and Recreation Department, that, “the city will not lease the recreation center or any part of it to” Tolentine.

Tolentine is informed, pursuant to city contracts, the city will staff the property with Parks and Recreation employees. Tolentine is informed the city will likely be unable to offer services for up to a year.

Effective Aug. 29, the city property located at 1025-33 Mifflin Street shall no longer be referred to as the Tolentine Community Center. It will not offer a fall afterschool program in September.

According to a statement on Tolentine’s website, they are looking for a new location so they can continue offering services to the community.

Now that this center is no longer Tolentine, how would you like to see this 35,000 sq. ft. space utilized in the future?

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24 Responses to Tolentine Community Center’s lease will not be renewed

  1. Get_Off_Me August 28, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    Good riddance! To even begin to call this place a “community center” is a mockery. Hopefully the city can wise up, knock down those gates, and actually let people enjoy the space without the inconsistency and awkwardness that Tolentine was.

    • Robert Ashley August 28, 2015 at 9:51 am #

      This is awful. I was relying on that afterschool program.

    • Jeri Gurney August 28, 2015 at 10:40 am #

      I agree. It has excluded the community and has a most unwelcoming air about it. Open it to the neighborhood/public! It may still have after school programs; who knows?

  2. Rebecca August 28, 2015 at 9:50 am #

    Any idea how this will affect those of us who vote there?

  3. AA August 28, 2015 at 9:53 am #

    Yay! Maybe now the center will actually serve the community!

  4. c.g. August 28, 2015 at 9:57 am #

    I would hate for this space to be razed and for new residential construction to go in, I feel like that would add nothing to the neighborhood.
    I like the idea of having a community space there, especially since I live around the corner. But an actual community space with activities, events, services, etc. Maybe some community gardening or green space that can enjoyed.

    In nearly six years I only saw Tolentine either closed up or overflowing for bingo night.

    • Beth August 30, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

      Hey cj, EPX runs a community garden around the corner on the Neumann Goretti campus! If you’re interested in gardening check it out on the EPX website and check it out in person from the Watkins St entrance by the Zagar building.

  5. cg August 28, 2015 at 10:03 am #

    Good. This place was hardly a community center. When was it ever open? It felt like its own little fiefdom that only served a group of the connected. It’s unfortunate it’ll probably sit empty for a year, but hopefully it’ll be put to better use than it has been.

  6. Lou_1000x August 28, 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Thank goodness! Hopefully it will become an actual community center. The kind that is actually open to the public.

  7. Margie August 28, 2015 at 10:50 am #

    Good riddance!

    I think an after school program and summer camp are a necessity, but the way the current ones are run is awful. Please use it as an actual community center, remove the fencing, greenery, that stupid sundial and cement, and build a real, public playground. It’s a travesty that our wonderful neighborhood does not have a playground!

  8. NEMESIS August 28, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    The South Philly Food Co-op should lease a portion of this space. Great location.

  9. FavRedHd August 28, 2015 at 11:28 am #

    Since the building is within their boundaries, I would expect that the EPX Civic Association will be involved with this project every step of the way. You should all come out to a meeting and find out how you can become more involved.

  10. andrew August 28, 2015 at 1:31 pm #

    My wife and I live a stones throw from here (10th and Mifflin) i can’t agree more with a majority of the comments here. This should’ve always been a public space. dog park, playground, weekend flea market, farmers market, etc. and that’s just the outside. i’ve never been inside, i’m assuming a ton of potential can be thought of within the interior space. Moving forward, we need young, creative, forward thinking minded neighbors rather then the 60-70 year olds that have controlled these grounds for years.

    my thoughts -

  11. Amanda August 28, 2015 at 2:27 pm #

    I have lived at/around 10th and Mifflin for 9 years, spending the majority of my 20′s in an area that has unfortunately lacked life and acceptance to change. The recent opening of Bok has brought life and culture to our side of Passyunk and it’s thrilling to hear passer bys talk about how cool Le Bok Fin is, and to have more young people venturing to our neighborhood.

    The community center is now another opportunity to bring excitement to our neighborhood. It should be a welcoming space – take down the fence please – rather than just a weird place where I go to vote. I agree with the majority of the comments here and feel that a mixed use space (playground/dog park/farmers market/etc) is a step in the right direction.

  12. Meghan August 28, 2015 at 2:48 pm #

    I second the comment about a portion of the space potentially being allocated to the South Philly Food Co-op…what a great location! The thought of it becoming truly usable space for the surrounding area is good news.

    • Zachary August 31, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

      Allocating space to the South Philly Food Co-op would be the worst outcome imaginable, what with the civil suite that’s in the works for stealing money from members with no intent to deliver an actual co-op.

      • Rachel August 31, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

        I have not heard about this civil suit. I am a member of the Co-op. I just googled it and I didn’t come up with anything. Can you provide any more details? Thanks.

        • Zachary September 3, 2015 at 2:50 pm #

          Someone came to my door a couple weeks ago collecting signatures. I’m not a co-op member so I didn’t really get the full details before turning her away. Sorry.

        • Joey September 3, 2015 at 2:55 pm #

          I saw a flyer at Benna’s. Might be still there. Gist of it is that people are pissed that they paid money and nothing has happened in like ten years. Understandable.

      • Aaron B August 31, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

        You don’t know what you’re talking about.

  13. Chas August 29, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

    The neighborhood desperately needs an open green space: a place folks can sit outside, kids can play, dogs can walk, etc. Raze the building, plant some trees, put in lighting, benches and a playground: Let E-Punk have its own Fitler Square.

  14. Anthony Partenza August 30, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    It’s a shame that this center wasn’t operated the proper way for a long time. Now it’s back in new hands and I believe the community will have a nice space again. Youth, families and neighbors will benefit from this awesome space. I know everyone has an opinion of Tolentine but I won’t write anything mean here because it doesn’t solve anything. Looking forward to seeing this awesome space used!

  15. BNT September 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm #

    The Parks and Rec Center will (most likely) be taking over the space: Come to an EPX Civic meeting to have your ideas heard:

  16. DivasLasVegas September 8, 2015 at 9:03 am #

    Go back to art school, Coy, we don’t like you.

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