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Upon These Rocks,
They Will Build Their Planters

When the old Asbury Methodist Church in the 3300 block of Chestnut Street burned down last spring, a few months before it was to reopen as Penn's Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall, it looked as though its old brownstone facade would end up as landfill. But through the efforts of a University City group called Baltimore Avenue in Bloom and some help from Penn, some of that stonework may end up being used as planters in certain triangular intersections along Baltimore Avenue.
   Several months ago, says Mike Hardy, the group's point man, the group got wind that the church facade could not be rebuilt. So they got in touch with Philadelphia City Councilwoman Happy Fernandez, a Powelton Village resident. She then wrote a letter to Dr. Judith Rodin, CW'66, president of the University, asking if the stones could be made available. Rodin gave the go-ahead, and Earle "Dusty" Bray Jr., Penn's director of project management, made arrangements with a contractor to deliver five "enormous" truckloads of stone to a site in Northeast Philadelphia, where they will be stored for two years under the auspices of the city's streets department.
   "We now have to put together an arrangement to develop specific plans for each triangle, and then get the construction done," says Hardy. "We've gotten some indications through Happy once again that she may have some assistance for us." Several other local University City community groups have expressed interest in using some of the stones as well.
   Baltimore Avenue in Bloom also received a donation of 150 dormant mums from Penn, most of which have been planted along the 3900 block of the avenue.

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Copyright 1998 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 3/12/98