Northsiders gather to discuss Prospect

The Northside Neighborhood Watch monthly meeting always hosts a 50/50 raffle. The mood in Our Lady of Pompeii's cellar last Monday night was 50/50 also.

This is a hopeful lot, especially now with the news of Prospect Hill's development spearheaded by St. Joseph's Hospital with the city, the state and the feds, too.

But there are concerns as well.

Antoinetta Pasqurela said, "We want to clean up the Northside."

"We won't give up either," Esther Pagano said.

The two residents, who were running the raffle, have been working toward this end for more than 15 years.

Nancy Grace Hicks directed the meeting that hosted Paul Driscoll (no relation to the Mayor) from Home Visions, a nonprofit that deals with developing housing. The larger than usual crowd, 45 plus, drank in the topic. Exactly what was St. Joe's Prospect Hill project?

Driscoll, who only represented one of several agencies involved, handed out maps of the Hill with properties under question for demo and rehab marked mainly on Townsend and then also Catherine Street.

One resident asked why it jumped to Catherine Street?

Driscoll answered that there was a gap on Catherine that they felt was causing a problem to the development that had already taken place there.

A great thing about this approach is that it is clustered block by block rather than a house here and there, Councilor-at-Large Van Robinson said. He thought it important to get away from scattered site housing, explaining this was not effective.

County Legislator and council concerned

Another interesting twist was that several city councilmen and Sam Laguzza the County Leg who represents the16th District were present and asking questions, along with the neighbors.

Laguzza was particularly vocal. It was personal as his wife hailed from this area - Union Place. He wanted to know why the project's scope didn't include owner-occupied housing versus rental units only (owner operated). He also thought the project looked congested with 50 units on 12 parcels of land.

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