Northeast Times

There’s a new sheriff in Mayfair

Start­Frag­ment

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 may­fair­town­watch@gmail.com or check out the May­fair Town Watch page on Face­book. 

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at twaring@bsmphilly.com.

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