Jared Solomon looked around Max Myers Playground last Wednesday night and saw dozens of young people playing basketball, volleyball and soccer and using the play equipment.
“This place is buzzing. Look at it,” he said.
Solomon is president of the Castor Gardens-based Take Back Your Neighborhood civic association, and he expects Max Myers to be buzzing again on Saturday, Aug. 24, when his group will present its third annual Northeast Celebration.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., both inside the recreation center and under a large outdoor tent.
There will be craft vendors, civic and community groups, service providers, political offices and historical presentations.
The day will include food, live music, carnival games, storytelling, face painting, balloons, nail polish applications, a magic show, Zumba exercise classes, pinatas, a caricaturist and appearances by representatives of the Philadelphia Zoo and the Academy of Natural Sciences.
“We want to bring the community together,” Solomon said. “Every year, we keep building. It should be really nice. It should be a great event.”
Take Back Your Neighborhood has been in existence for more than five years. The group meets monthly at Max Myers, at 1601 Hellerman St., though there will be no meeting in August because of the celebration.
The next meeting will be on Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 p.m. at Max Myers. The guests will be city elections commissioner Stephanie Singer, state Rep. and congressional candidate Brendan Boyle and a speaker on the national Affordable Care Act.
In its existence, Take Back Your Neighborhood has delivered on a number of initiatives and has plans for more neighborhood improvements.
Last year, Solomon coached a sixth-to-eighth-grade boys basketball team that competed in the Sonny Hill League. He wants to introduce a soccer program.
“Sports is a great way to engage kids,” he said.
The civic group also has worked to place trash/recycling cans at Max Myers and BigBelly Solar trash cans on Castor Avenue.
Members have created a community garden at the playground, organized neighborhood cleanups, gotten together to knit and formed a committee to call the city’s 311 nonemergency number for various issues.
Thanks to the group, Northeast Regional Library staff read to Max Myers daycare students and Aria Health offers wellness classes for the community.
There is plenty to do, Solomon said. There are plans to develop a youth tutoring service, offer English as a Second Language classes and paint the exterior walls of the recreation center building.
The grandest plans include placing security cameras at Max Myers and on neighborhood streets and to find a way to improve the overall look of the playground.
For more information, contact Solomon at 215-205-2167 or firstname.lastname@example.org ••