Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Friends, family celebrate activist's life

Rosemary Jackson fought for women´s and student´s rights.
Rosemary Jackson fought for women's and student's rights.
Rosemary Jackson fought for women´s and student´s rights. Gallery: Friends, family celebrate activist's life
BLINQ Rosemary Jackson was a tireless activist and peerless advocate - whether the cause was women in West Africa or students in East Camden. I respected the former city school board president, whom I wrote about while covering Camden in the 1990s. And I was saddened to hear that she had passed away, at age 66, in January.

But Rosemary's fiery and fiercely intelligent spirit will be in the house Saturday, March 29, as friends and family celebrate her "life journeys" from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy, in Camden.

"Rosemary gave money, time, spirit, and fire," says Mangaliso Davis, a veteran Camden activist who knew and worked with Jackson for 25 years. "Even when she was in the hospital, she was trying to get up, thinking she had to go do something for the people."

A city native who rose to prominence in the late 1980s, Jackson was involved with local, state, national, and international women's organizations. "Rose traveled the world to advocate for women," Davis notes.

At Saturday's event, he plans to play a voice mail from Jackson, urging him to attend a demonstration. "She says, 'Mango, I can't go, but I need you to go down there and represent.' "

Sounds like the Rosemary I knew.

yKevin Riordan,

Camden's first skyscraper has

a new owner

CAMDEN FLOW In Wednesday's paper I reported LEAP Academy Charter was looking into buying the Wilson building at 130 N. Broadway, adjacent to its campus.

It turns out, they already did.

LEAP purchased the 12-story historic building for $2 million at the beginning of February, said Robert Corr, senior vice president of Binswanger, a realty agency handling the sale on behalf of Beneficial Mutual Savings Bank.

The charter, which operates three schools in the city, also applied for an Economic Development Authority bond to refinance a private loan to purchase the building (hence the confusion). A hearing on the bond application is scheduled for April 8.

The building was partially renovated in 2009 by Dysart Ventures, a development firm in New York City, and was intended for corporate office and retail tenants. Dysart bought the property from previous owner Steve Rubin for $3.5 million in 2008, records show, but later defaulted on a loan and handed the property back to Beneficial bank, Corr said.

Corr said there were no tenants in the building at the time of the sale but there was an income stream from cell towers on the roof and an ATM outside.

LEAP has not returned calls for comment.

The charter operator has had its eye on expanding, and in board meeting minutes discussed the desire to purchase the building, which dates to 1926. A legal notice put out by the Economic Development Authority said the charter was requesting a refinancing bond not to exceed $10 million "to build a new school."

LEAP applied to open a Renaissance school in the fall but was not approved. In its proposal, the school said it wanted to open a K-12 school in Cramer Hill that would eventually serve 1,405 students, beginning with 600 kindergarten to fifth-grade students in the 2015-16 school year.

LEAP currently has 1,300 students enrolled in its lower school (K-6), an upper school (7-12), and a specialized STEM High School (9-12).

yJulia Terruso,

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