NE Civic groups talk about forming coalition

Sev­er­al civic as­so­ci­ation lead­ers already are work­ing on put­ting a North­east co­ali­tion to­geth­er.

John Kradz­in­ski thinks the North­east’s civic groups should pull to­geth­er to get more pull.

Kradzink­si, pres­id­ent of the Mill­brook Civic As­so­ci­ation, told a small gath­er­ing of his mem­bers at the Cal­vary Ath­let­ic As­so­ci­ation on April 30 that some sort of um­brella or­gan­iz­a­tion that met quarterly would help the more than 20 North­east civic or­gan­iz­a­tions share in­form­a­tion and also in­crease their sway with pub­lic of­fi­cials.

Num­bers, he said, would give North­east res­id­ents a big­ger voice.

It might be an idea whose time has come. Sev­er­al civic as­so­ci­ation lead­ers already are work­ing on put­ting a North­east co­ali­tion to­geth­er.

Board mem­bers of May­fair’s, Holmes­burg’s, Up­per Holmes­burg’s, Wissi­nom­ing’s, Frank­ford’s and Ta­cony’s civic as­so­ci­ations already have met with oth­er North­east group lead­ers three times since Feb­ru­ary. Some meet­ings were at­ten­ded by 40 people, said Mary Be­nussi, pres­id­ent of the Ta­cony Civic As­so­ci­ation.

The North­east’s roughly two dozen civic or­gan­iz­a­tions have mem­ber­ships large and small that are in­ter­ested in dif­fer­ent areas, but, said Up­per Holmes­burg present Stan Cyn­wink­si, they have a lot of com­mon con­cerns.

Among the, Cyn­w­inski said on May 9, are zon­ing de­cisions and the im­pact of the city’s Ac­tu­al Value Ini­ti­at­ive on real es­tate taxes

Zon­ing plays big on many civic groups’ agen­das. Many or­gan­iz­a­tions’ mem­bers sup­port or op­pose zon­ing changes as a meth­od of pre­serving neigh­bor­hood char­ac­ter.

Of late, civics have seen Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment de­cisions go­ing more against neigh­bor­hood wishes, said Rich Frizell, pres­id­ent of the Holmes­burg Civic As­so­ci­ation. Pete Specos, pres­id­ent of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation, agreed.

At­tempts to al­low drug-treat­ment fa­cil­it­ies in the North­east also spike res­id­ents’ in­terest throughout the area.

Res­id­ents re­cently lost a bid to stop a drug-treat­ment cen­ter on the 7500 block of State Road. Open­ing a meth­adone dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ter re­quired a zon­ing vari­ance, which the zon­ing board gran­ted.

Get­ting civics to­geth­er has been tried be­fore Cyn­wink­si said.

“We worked to­geth­er on com­mon is­sues,” he said, but ad­ded that once those is­sues were ad­dressed, in­terest in main­tain­ing some sort of North­east um­brella group would fade.

This latest bid to form a North­east co­ali­tion is well past the talk­ing stage said Peter Mc­Der­mott, the May­fair civic’s zon­ing of­ficer.

This loc­al civic um­brella group already has a name: North­east Civics Ad­vis­ory Coun­cil. What the in­ter­ested parties are do­ing now is work­ing out how they will act to­geth­er and how they’ll be or­gan­ized.

And, they want more civic groups to get in­volved. But Be­nussi stressed that the or­gan­iz­a­tion is a co­ali­tion of civic as­so­ci­ation lead­ers, not rank-and-file mem­bers.

“It’s for board mem­bers,” Be­nussi said.

The ad­vis­ory coun­cil meets on the last Tues­day of the month at 7 p.m. at the Dis­ston Re­cre­ation Fa­cil­ity, 4423 Long­shore Ave.

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