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Marconi and Stella Maris

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Boundaries: Marconi: Broad to 18th streets, Packer to Snyder avenues; Stella Maris: Broad to Seventh streets, Oregon Avenue to I-76

Population: 8,200 (combined with Packer Park in the 2000 Census)

Demographics: White, 86 percent; black, 9 percent; Asian, 3 percent; Latino, 1.5 percent. Only 17 percent of the area's population is under 18.

Origin of name: Designated, however informally, for the neighborhood's centerpiece, Marconi Plaza, and to the east for Stella Maris Parish.

Brief history: Marconi was once a rural community, with farms occupying the land where houses and businesses now stand. In the 1960s and '70s, Fairmount Park rangers, in gray uniforms and white caps, were regular sights at Marconi Plaza, which flanks the 2800 block of South Broad Street. The west-side park also had a helicopter landing area until just a few years ago.

Today, the Marconi and Stella Maris community's proximity to the sports complex and the parks make it a prime real-estate market. "We have a lot more development because of the stadiums," notes lifelong resident Tony Greco, president of the South Philadelphia Communities Civic Association.

Famous residents: Former mayor Frank Rizzo spent a few years of his childhood living on the 2300 block of South Rosewood Street, which residents informally renamed "Rizzo Street" in his honor; Jimmy Darren, Fabian and Bobby Rydell all hail from the east side of the community.

Major landmarks: Marconi Plaza; Methodist Hospital, 2301 S. Broad St.

Architecture: Brick and stucco-finished rowhomes of varying sizes, with some of the neighborhood's biggest houses on the 2900 block of South Broad Street

Median home sale price: $140,000

State Senate district: First, Vincent Fumo (D)

State House district: 185th, Robert Donatucci (D)

City Council district: Second, Council President Anna Verna (D), for Marconi; First, Councilman Frank DiCicco (D), for Stella Maris

Ward: 26th

Police district: First (Marconi) and Fourth (Stella Maris)

Civic groups and townwatches: South Philadelphia Communities Civic Association, Broad Street West Civic Association, Stadium Complex Special Services District, Broad Street West Town Watch, Claws of Justice Town Watch

Schools: F. Amedee Bregy Elementary, 17th and Bigler streets; St. Richard, 1826 Pollock St.; St. Monica (also serving Girard Estate), 16th and Shunk and 17th and Ritner; Stella Maris, 814 Bigler St.; Epiphany of Our Lord, 13th and Jackson; D. Newlin Fell Elementary, Ninth and Oregon; Abraham S. Jenks Elementary, 13th and Porter; South Philadelphia High, Broad and Snyder

Rec centers: Barry Playground, 18th and Johnston streets; Guerin Rec Center (also serving Girard Estate), 16th and Jackson

Highlights of living there: It's a family-oriented area with low crime, highly regarded elementary schools and relatively affordable housing compared to other stable South Philly neighborhoods. Marconi Plaza is a neighborhood gathering spot with fairly new playground equipment on each side (despite that neighborhood vandals are quick to destroy and add graffiti to it) and a bocce court on the east; nearby Barry Playground boasts tennis courts in addition to ball fields and basketball nets. Residents of the area's many tiny streets generally take pride in their blocks and keep very modern homes.

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