Signing of Community Benefits Agreement Sets Stage for Neighborhood Stimulus and Revitalization of Historic Greenwood Cemetery Property, Including Benjamin Rush House, In Northwood Section of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, PA (May 20, 2009) – It is now official. The two community associations – Northwood Civic and Northwood Concerned Citizens – and their neighbor, Cancer Treatment Centers of America Eastern Regional Medical Center, have agreed to a wide-ranging, comprehensive Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) that includes local employment, small business, and new home-buyer incentives, as well as significant support for the revitalization of the historic Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery property that adjoins the hospital grounds.

The landmark CBA, which was facilitated with the assistance of Philadelphia City Councilman Darrell Clarke, was signed yesterday at a meeting of Northwood Civic by the heads of both groups and a representative of the company that owns the CTCA property at 1331 East Wyoming Ave. The CBA memorializes the commitments made to the community by CTCA and its affiliates as CTCA moves forward with its long-range plans for its campus. The agreement details numerous additional community-business collaborative efforts – beyond support for the cemetery – including:

Creation of specially designated employment opportunities for local residents. This includes recruiting and hiring for jobs at CTCA from the neighborhood.
Establishment of a home-buying stimulus program. Employees at CTCA will be encouraged to purchase homes in the neighborhood and provided incentives of up to $2,000, matching the City’s special new home-buyer incentive program, and in addition to the $8,000 first-time incentive available from the federal government.
Help for local small businesses. They will be informed of contracting opportunities at CTCA and at Greenwood.

The CBA also makes formal and binding the extensive plans for the revitalization of the cemetery property, including the Rush House. The initial phase of the project includes reconstruction of the iconic wrought-iron entrance to the 18th century property, repairing surrounding stone walls, installation of new lighting and security systems, major upgrades to the landscaping, and stabilizing the deteriorating residence.

Councilman Clarke, who attended the meeting and voiced his support for the CBA and its long-term benefits, said, “It is important for the community to be engaged.”

Barry Howell, President of Northwood Civic, said prior to reading aloud and signing the C BA, “Everybody is included in this agreement.”