Wissinoming Civic becomes a registered community organization

Res­id­ents of Wissi­nom­ing have their very own civic as­so­ci­ation once again. About 40 neigh­bor­hood res­id­ents met the new lead­ers of the long-dormant com­munity group last Wed­nes­day night dur­ing an in­aug­ur­al meet­ing at Lower May­fair Play­ground.

Mean­while, Vice Pres­id­ent John No­lan an­nounced that the city has ap­proved the new WCA as a re­gistered com­munity or­gan­iz­a­tion. That means that the civic as­so­ci­ation will be able to host of­fi­cial zon­ing-re­lated com­munity meet­ings and will be no­ti­fied any time a zon­ing hear­ing is sched­uled re­gard­ing a prop­erty in the neigh­bor­hood.

“The com­munity gets to vote on it and, as your rep­res­ent­at­ive, I go down to the [zon­ing] board,” said No­lan, who sat on the board of the former Wissi­nom­ing Civic be­fore that group es­sen­tially dis­ban­ded due to a lack of par­ti­cip­a­tion.

The new WCA of­ficers in­clude John Barnes as pres­id­ent, No­lan as VP, Pat Gib­son as re­cord­ing sec­ret­ary and Shalai Young as ex­ec­ut­ive board mem­ber. Bob Ro­jas, the lead­er of the former civic as­so­ci­ation, also at­ten­ded last week’s meet­ing. Barnes thanked Ro­jas for his years of ser­vice to the com­munity in his former role.

The or­gan­iz­a­tion defines its bound­ar­ies as Rob­bins Av­en­ue to the north, Frank­ford Av­en­ue to the west, Wakeling Street to the south and the Delaware River to the east. The plan is to meet on the last Tues­day each month at 7 p.m. at the Wissi­nom­ing Park re­cre­ation cen­ter start­ing on Sept. 30. On odd-numbered months, the meet­ing will co­in­cide with the 15th Po­lice Dis­trict’s Po­lice Ser­vice Area-2 meet­ing. So, res­id­ents can show up to talk dir­ectly to loc­al po­lice about crime-re­lated is­sues, while also dis­cuss­ing zon­ing and oth­er neigh­bor­hood is­sues.

Barnes said that his pri­or­ity as pres­id­ent is to ad­voc­ate a “clean­er and safer” neigh­bor­hood, adding that the group will achieve its goals only with sus­tained broad-based sup­port. “This is your civic as­so­ci­ation,” he said. “[The of­ficers] can’t do it alone.”

City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on’s of­fice will also have a strong pres­ence in the civic group. Hen­on and his aide, Lisa Dee­ley, helped neigh­bors or­gan­ize in June as they be­came con­cerned about a pro­posed re­tail de­vel­op­ment pro­ject at Frank­ford and Dever­eaux av­en­ues, but were un­able to vote on the pro­ject dur­ing a May­fair Civic As­so­ci­ation meet­ing. The res­id­ents most af­fected by the pro­ject do not live with­in the May­fair bound­ar­ies.

Hen­on had a per­son­al in­terest in Wissi­nom­ing, any­way. “This has been one of Bobby’s most talked-about is­sues,” Dee­ley said. “He’s from Wissi­nom­ing, grew up in Wissi­nom­ing and went to St. Bart’s.

“You should all be com­men­ded for tak­ing the time and want­ing to get in­volved. This is how neigh­bor­hoods grow and stay strong and sol­id.”

Young offered to serve as a point-of-con­tact for neigh­bors deal­ing with qual­ity-of-life is­sues on their home blocks. Com­pil­ing in­form­a­tion from all areas of the neigh­bor­hood will help the civic group seek help to solve com­mon and chron­ic prob­lems. Gib­son noted that most folks know what’s go­ing on in their own small sec­tions, but know little about oth­er areas of the neigh­bor­hood.

“It’s like Pat said, there are a lot of sec­tions of Wissi­nom­ing,” No­lan said.

Barnes dir­ec­ted res­id­ents to the civic group’s new Face­book page, “Wissi­nom­ing Civic As­so­ci­ation.” It’s a closed group, so vis­it­ors should click the “join” link to gain full ac­cess. There are two oth­er Wissi­nom­ing Civic pages. One is a pro­file page that will soon be in­teg­rated in­to the new group page. There also is an older, in­act­ive group page, where the latest post was made in Septem­ber 2012.

To con­tact the civic group for ques­tions or to re­port neigh­bor­hood prob­lems, send an email to wissi­nom­ing­civicas­so­ci­ation@gmail.com ••

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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