Aldine Street resident Milt Martelack doesn’t want to hear his fellow residents complain about a lack of neighborhood resources.
“We’re the resource,” he said.
Martelack stepped up last week, becoming the new president of Mayfair Town Watch, a group that generally has been dormant for the last few years. Pete McDermott is vice president.
Mayfair Civic Association president Joe DeFelice backs Martelack’s leadership position. Martelack has led neighborhood protests against a proposed methadone clinic at Frankford Avenue and Decatur Street.
The announcement was made during a Jan. 9 meeting at the John M. Perzel Community Center. Others in attendance included Capt. Frank Bachmayer, commander of the 15th Police District; Sharon Krause, the district’s community relations officer; Mike Thaete, president of the 15th Police District Advisory Council; Joe Nicoletti, new president of Tacony/Holmesburg Town Watch; and Alicia Hernandez-Mette, a representative of the city’s Town Watch Integrated Services.
Like most other Town Watch groups, the Mayfair organization will patrol on weekend nights. Martelack would rather engage large groups of young people in a dialogue than chase them away.
“I don’t want to be known as the Mayfair tattletales,” he said.
The boundaries of the group will be from Devereaux Avenue to Sheffield Avenue and Frankford Avenue to Roosevelt Boulevard.
DeFelice believes patrols are needed to prevent vandalism and other unsavory activities at such neighborhood spots as the Abraham Lincoln High School campus, the John M. Perzel Community Center and Mayfair Memorial Playground.
Also, the patrols will check on the newly opened Rolling Thunder Roller Skating Center. Many neighbors considered Rolling Thunder’s two predecessors, WOW and Jamz, to be nuisances, based on incidents that took place when the venue closed on weekend nights.
The new Town Watch group plans to complement successful neighboring groups that patrol Holmesburg, Upper Mayfair and Tacony.
Hernandez-Mette will provide training.
Initial complaints have ranged from gunpoint robberies to kids playing football on the 3300 block of Bleigh Ave.
“We can make Mayfair a nice place,” Martelack said.
Bachmayer, who has commanded the 15th district for five and a half years, is in full support of the new group. The 15th is the busiest and most populated district in the city, and Bachmayer said it has the most officers.
The police captain said community involvement is vital. He was commander of the 25th district before arriving at the 15th, and recalled about 10 neighbors chasing prostitutes away from the area of Old York Road and Luzerne Street, not too far from Little Flower High School, simply by sitting on folding chairs on summer nights.
“We don’t expect you to go out there and chase people with guns,” he said.
Soon after taking over at the 15th, he worked with the community to disperse young people who were gathering in large numbers at the All Saints Catholic Church property in Bridesburg.
In Bachmayer’s view, patrolling Town Watch members can be effective by driving the streets or merely parking their cars in prominent locations.
ldquo;Town Watch is very important,” Bachmayer said. “We never know what we prevent.”
The next Town Watch meeting will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Perzel center, following the Mayfair Civic Association meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. ••
For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the Mayfair Town Watch page on Facebook.EndFragment