Civic groups resume monthly meetings

Septem­ber is a good month to get ac­quain­ted with some of your neigh­bors.

Mem­bers of many of the neigh­bor­hood or­gan­iz­a­tions the North­east Times cov­ers are re­sum­ing their reg­u­larly monthly meet­ings after sus­pend­ing ses­sions in Ju­ly and Au­gust. 

It might be a good time to drop by to make some loc­al con­tacts or learn what civic groups do. What they do really shouldn’t be a mys­tery, but just about every­one who has at­ten­ded any civic or­gan­iz­a­tions’ monthly ses­sions has heard someone say something like, “I’ve lived here for years and nev­er knew this group ex­is­ted.”

Civic or­gan­iz­a­tions ex­ist all over the North­east — from Frank­ford to Somer­ton, from Lawn­crest to Park­wood. Not every neigh­bor­hood has such a group and not all groups meet monthly, or even reg­u­larly, but many do have monthly ses­sions, and their mem­bers make a lot of con­tri­bu­tions.

First, they’re im­port­ant parts of the city’s zon­ing pro­cess. Prop­erty own­ers who want to leg­ally bend Phil­adelphia zon­ing reg­u­la­tions have to seek vari­ances from the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment, and that pan­el wants to know what a neigh­bor­hood thinks about the own­ers’ pro­pos­al. Own­ers must ask loc­al civic as­so­ci­ations to back them, so they ap­pear be­fore those groups to seek sup­port. They don’t al­ways get it, but the zon­ers don’t al­ways agree with a com­munity’s op­pos­i­tion.

Second, civic as­so­ci­ation meet­ings are good places to meet pub­lic of­fi­cials or their rep­res­ent­at­ives. It’s not un­heard of for a City Coun­cil mem­ber or a state le­gis­lat­or to vis­it civic group meet­ings, and not just dur­ing cam­paign sea­sons. And of­fice­hold­ers or their aides at­tend these meet­ings to find out what con­cerns their con­stitu­ents. 

Third, com­munity or­gan­iz­a­tions serve as ral­ly­ing grounds for neigh­bor­hood events, and some­times for protests.  

“Civic as­so­ci­ations keep neigh­bor­hoods strong and vi­brant,” state Rep. Brendan Boyle told mem­bers of the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation on Sept. 5.

Some of the many up­com­ing North­east civic meet­ings this month are:

— May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation, 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16, May­fair Com­munity Cen­ter, 2990 St. Vin­cent St.

— Take Back Your Neigh­bor­hood, 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16, Max My­ers Play­ground.

— Lawn­crest Com­munity As­so­ci­ation, 7 p.m., Tues­day, Sept. 17, St. Wil­li­am’s So­cial Hall, Rob­bins Av­en­ue and Argyle Street.

— Mill­brook Civic As­so­ci­ation, 7 p.m., Tues­day, Sept. 24, Cal­vary Ath­let­ic As­so­ci­ation, 4330 Deer­path Lane.

— Great­er Bustleton Civic League, 7 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, Sept. 25, at the Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on on Red Li­on Road.

— Park­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation, 7 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, Sept. 25, St. An­selm’s Church Hall, 12670 Dunks­ferry Road.

The North­east Times reg­u­larly re­ports on these and oth­er or­gan­iz­a­tions like the Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation, the Frank­ford Neigh­bor­hood Ad­vis­ory Com­mit­tee, the North­wood Civic As­so­ci­ation, the Somer­ton Civic As­so­ci­ation and the Nor­mandy Civic As­so­ci­ation to name just a few. Check the pa­per’s cal­en­dar for up­com­ing meet­ings in your neigh­bor­hood. ••

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