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 firstname.lastname@example.org ••