Check out the treasures
that make Juniata great!!
Treasure #8: The Tacony Creek Trail and the Healthy Trails 5k
There’s a new trail in Tacony Creek Park connecting Juniata Park to Cheltenham. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Philadelphia Water Department, with the help of other city agencies and the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership, have led the charge on making Tacony Creek Park, the 300-acre park established by a city ordinance in 1915, a safe place for neighbors to work and play. To achieve this goal, these agencies worked together to extend an existing trail coming off of Roosevelt Boulevard into Juniata next to Ferko Playground at “I” and Ramona Ave.
Nature lovers, walkers and runners are all excited about the new Tacony Creek Trail. You’re missing a beautiful part of our neighborhood if you haven’t been on this trail yet. The trail is quiet and peaceful as it leads you along side the Tacony Creek. It’s an incredible resource for Juniata Park to have such nice trail so close by.
Click on the map below to see where the trail goes and find out more about the trail:
Juniata is also thrilled to have a new 5k race on this trail every year. The Healthy Trails 5k is an annual race to take place right in our back yard. Check out the website: www.healthytrails5k.com to see the sponsors, pictures and details about the 5k.
Treasure #7: Our Parks
Here in Juniata we’ve got not one, not two, but three places where our children can play, be involved in sports, and spend their free time safely. There are the two playgrounds – Ferko and Piccoli – and the Juniata Boys and Girls Club.
The Ferko Playground, located at 1101 E. Cayuga Street (where J Street intersects Cayuga), is on the southwest portion of the park where the Juniata Golf Course sits, and boasts after-school programs, summer camps, and opportunities to play sports such as baseball, dance, and basketball. A Girl Scout troop meets at Ferko and it is also the site of a water park during the summer’s hottest days.
The Juniata Boys and Girls Club, located between Ferko and the Juniata Golf Course, is part of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America organization, which aims “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” according to its website. At the club, which is managed by Director Javier Sanchez, kids can get involved in sports teams like their baseball team. There are other fun programs such as their twice-weekly Zumba classes.
Located at the intersection of Cayuga St and Hunting Park Ave. is Piccoli Playground. Piccoli has been the site of several programs such as after-school programs, arts & crafts, fitness, gymnastics/tumbling, and swimming clubs. It is also, along with the Juniata Boys and Girls Club, a polling site used twice a year.
Treasure #6: Juniata Golf Course The Juniata Golf Course is one of those courses you have to be a pretty good golfer to play and get a good score, says Executive Director and General Manager Robert Wheeler. Although it’s something like 50 acres, “It’s a fairly short course compared to others,” he adds. All of the 18 holes are either par 3 or par 4, meaning it takes the average golfer to 3 or 4 strokes to sink the ball.
While the Ed Ault-designed course may be fairly difficult, it is a good place for beginners, Wheeler says. This is partly due to the friendly staff and golfers. “Our strongest point is we treat people the same. We’re not cliquish like others,” he says. If a golfer is struggling and holding up the hole, the others that come up behind him or her usually wait patiently, he says.
The course, which opened in 1927, hosts 50 tournaments a year. These tournaments are used as fundraisers for high school sports teams, cancer research and the Philadelphia Police Department, on which Wheeler served until retiring in 1998. Groups and individuals can also rent the banquet facility for events.
For a long time, the course was run by management companies that didn’t seem to care about the well-being of the property. Three years ago, the city gave Wheeler and his team the course. For two years, they were awarded one-year contracts.
Juniata is fortunate to be one of the few neighborhoods to have an 18-hole golf course right in our own back yard. A great Club House is available for private banquets, and the course respectively boasts beautiful monuments to our Firefighters, Police Officers, and U.S. Military.
This past year, the city awarded him use of the land for a guaranteed five years, with an option to renew for four more years once those five are up. “The extended contract made a lot of people want to help out,” he says. “The unions support the golf course. They helped renovate what had been a cart shed into the club house.”
Treasure #5: Bachmann Trains
A few blocks from the Erie-Torresdale stop on the Market-Frankford line sit two buildings most Juniata residents have paid little attention to over the years. The shorter of the two, which sits on the southwest corner of the intersection of Erie Avenue and M Street, is a one-story building with blue lettering signaling the presence of “Bachmann Ind., INC.” The taller building to the left of that one recently got a facelift, complete with new colorful, circular signs that trumpet the company’s presence.
Bachmann Trains has occupied its Erie Avenue facility since the late 1920s but it has operated in Philadelphia since Henry Carlisle founded the company in 1833. In that early phase of the company’s history, it produced ivory accessories that appealed to the Southern aristocracy. The company took on the Bachmann name when Carlisle’s company merged with a competing business owned by Henry G. Bachmann and his son, Walter J. Bachmann.
Before taking residence at 1400 Erie Avenue in 1929, the company started using celluloid to produce eyeglass frames. They were the number one maker of novelty sunglasses and the first American company to make prescription eyeglasses. Bachmann also made parts for car batteries and cassette tapes and cases.
Then, in 1947, Bachmann made its first foray into the hobby market with Plasticville U.S.A., a line of plastic architectural landmarks including a replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall. And in 1969, the company produced its first small train set. Now the company exclusively produces train sets, including the Thomas and Friends brand of toy trains, and the line of Plasticville U.S.A. products, which range in price from $4.95 to $1,500 and are sold both online and in hobby shops.
While some production was handled at the 1400 Erie Ave. location, now all of the company’s products are made in China. This means that the two buildings in Juniata Park are used exclusively as offices and warehouse space. The company, which employs roughly 50 people, has a number of generational employees, who tend to live in the neighborhood.
One of the greatest things about Bachmann Trains is the company’s commitment to its customers and Juniata Park. Every train purchase comes with a lifetime warranty. Owners can send their broken trains to the offices on Erie Ave. and Bachmann will either fix the train or, in the case that it can’t be fixed, will replace the train with another of equal or greater value. As for its commitment to Juniata, Bachmann recently donated funds to the 24th Police District towards the purchase of two motorized dirt bikes to be used by its hardworking officers.
The Juniata Action Committee is pleased to recognize BILLY DOC’S DINER in our on-going series featuring Treasures in Juniata.
Billy Doc’s Diner began through a simple cause — One man’s desire to get a great meal at a reasonable price. Owner, Bill Dougherty, a graduate of Northeast Catholic, was driving through the area and realized that at one end of Juniata, there was no place to grab a bite to eat. He found a sleepy little corner with a vacant property in 2004, and after a 9-month renovation, opened the attractive and comfortable Billy Doc’s Diner in January of 2005. Now, that corner is always bustling with hungry residents and business people coming for breakfast and lunch.
Billy Doc’s is a destination for many police officers from the 24th and 25th Districts, as well as utility workers from PECO and PGW. Popular favorites include the delicious Chicken Salad, and Turkey Club Sandwiches. The restaurant cooks their own turkeys, and you get a nice 1/2 lb. of meat on the Club Sandwich!!
Breakfast is a must-experience at Billy Doc’s as well. It’s served 6 am until 11 am on weekdays, and all day (7am-2pm) on weekends. Their Hungry Man special (2 eggs, home fries, 2 pancakes, 2 bacon, 2 sausage and coffee) is a big favorite.
If you’ve tasted a delicious hoagie from Little Flower High School’s annual Hoagie Run over the past few years, it came from Billy Doc’s!
Billy Doc’s also offers catering with a menu including Roast Beef, Wings, Meatballs and more. They’re always busy for Communions, Graduations and Birthday Parties. Stop in today to find out why everyone loves Billy Doc’s Diner. There’s plenty of tables and a breakfast/lunch counter to enjoy your meal!
The Juniata Action Committee has found two restaurants that have been “Treasures” for the people of Juniata over the years. In our on-going series, this week we feature the extremely popular Pete’s Clown House Restaurant!
Owner, Ron Bordone, started working at Pete’s Clown House Restaurant while he was a student at Northeast Catholic High School. The restaurant, which opened in August of 1966, would one day be owned by this North kid who worked 5:30-8:00am every day in the Kitchen Prep area. In October of 1980, Ron purchased the business, and ever since, his loyal customer base has been building. “90% of our customers come every day”, he said.
Creamed Chipped Beef over Toast has remained a constant favorite and biggest seller at the Clown House, along with the He Man Breakfast Special which includes two eggs, bacon & sausage, one pancake, potatoes or grits with coffee or tea.
Ron likes to keep a relaxed, but well organized, family atmosphere in the restaurant, which serves breakfast and lunch. Pat Eldridge is one customer that has been a “Loyalist” of the Clown House for 23 years. “This is the best restaurant in the world!” she exclaimed after having the Taco Salad Bowl. She has her favorites, but said that everything on the menu is very good. Loyalists like Pat can purchase restaurant T-Shirts, that instead of reading “Staff”, notes the customer as a “Loyalist”. Come see what all the buzz is about at Pete’s Clown House!
Treasure #2 Scanlon Ice Skating Rink
“Building Lives and Uniting Communities” is the motto of the Snider Hockey League at Scanlon Ice Skating Rink. The rink, located just a stone’s throw from Juniata,, does just that — and that’s why the Juniata Action Committee has chosen it as a “Juniata Treasure”!
Families from Juniata, Harrowgate, Kensington, Port Richmond and further come to enjoy Scanlon Ice Rink. The price for Open Skating hours is perfect — FREE!! If you need to rent skates, the cost is just $3.00.
The rink was saved from possible closure by an astonishing investment from the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation. In return for the use of the facility, the Foundation helps to pay the salaries of the staff, and it afforded the facility the opportunity to offer free skating sessions to the public. The investment also paid for renovations last year which will lengthen the skating season to be open most of the year.
Recreation Leaders Jerry Luberski and Ollie Ernst are extremely pleased with the renovations that the facility had undergone before it reopened this past January. Luberski said that when the skaters first saw the newly renovated rink, they walked around in amazement. “This is a great opportunity for the kids of the neighborhood,” he said.
The Snider Hockey League started at Scanlon a few years ago with 60 kids, and it grew to 250 kids last year. Now, upwards of 500 kids are in the program, which stresses the need for education along with athletics. League participants must maintain A’s and B’s in their school classes. Players with C’s or lower must participate in Homework Help Sessions at the rink to remain on their teams. According to the staff, even kids who are getting A’s and B’s are taking advantage of the Homework Help, and the grades of participants are showing improvement.
Along with the Hockey League and Open Skating, the rink has sessions open for figure skating. You can call Scanlon Recreation Center at 215-685-9893 for information on the Snider Hockey League and updates on all skating schedules. Public Skating hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 7pm-9pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 2pm-4pm.
Log onto www.JuniataTreasure.com to view this and the Juniata Action Committee’s first “Treasure” in this ongoing series. Make a recommendation for one of our future Treasures!!!
Treasure #1 Cancer Treatment Centers of America
Welcome to the debut of “Juniata Treasure”, a project by the residents of Juniata designed to highlight the things that make our neighborhood great. The Juniata Action Committee (JAC) wants residents to be proud to live here and outsiders to know what a great neighborhood we have!
While there were a number of “Treasures” discussed at Juniata Action Committee meetings, one quickly rose to the top of the list — Cancer Treatment Centers of America, whose Eastern Regional Medical Center is located at 1331 E. Wyoming Avenue.
It’s hard to describe the warm, pleasant atmosphere at CTCA Eastern Regional Medical Center, but once you walk through the door, you can feel it. Looking more like a five-star hotel than a medical treatment center, CTCA has a staff who all take the treatment and care of their patients very seriously. It’s an atmosphere that enables patients to keep as stress-free as possible, allowing them to focus on getting better.
CTCA has held four Celebrate Life events in the first five years that it has been in the neighborhood, with a fifth event coming this spring. The event has celebrated 59 five-year survivors of cancer to date, with dozens more who will receive the honor this May. CTCA plants a tree in Juniata Park’s Ferko Playground for each of the five-year survivors — so when they go home all across America, their lives will remain a part of our Juniata Park forever!
The lives that are made better and saved by the great doctors, nurses and staff are the biggest ‘treasure’ that comes from CTCA’s presence in the neighborhood, but there is much more to its significance in Juniata.
Parkview Hospital closed at a time when a number of other hospitals in the region were closing as well. It left a large empty building at Castor & Wyoming Avenues. Many neighbors were concerned, and they feared about what would come of the building. When Cancer Treatment Centers of America announced its plans for the site, those fears turned into relief.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America opened their doors in December, 2005 with 150 employees, and after growth and expansion they now have 850 employees — and they’re not finished investing and growing in our neighborhood!
CTCA has a three-story, 38,000 square foot expansion under construction on the west side of the hospital. The addition will include eight ICU beds, additional clinical areas, operating rooms and an expanded rehabilitation center. There are also plans to expand the cafeteria, radiation and radiology units.
CTCA has made donations to many organizations in Juniata, including their sponsorship of the Petting Zoo at J.A.C.’s ‘Juniata Fest’. CTCA currently has partnerships with a number of local organizations, not to mention the various health and cancer related groups they support throughout the city.
Current partnerships include: iPraxis, Philadelphia Youth Network; Tree planting for Celebrate Life inJuniataPark; Hunting Park Stakeholders; Esperanza Earn Center; Esperanza High School; Philadelphia Corporation for Aging; Reverend Centeno; Marian Anderson Award; they have helped finance the cemetery fencing improvements along Ramona Avenue, and plans are in the works to straighten out the headstones in the cemetery. CTCA is a treasure we are glad to have!