Last August, the Fox Chase Town Watch revived the city’s biggest National Night Out celebration. Last Wednesday, organizers got a head start on making the event even bigger in 2014.
State Rep. Brendan Boyle contributed $800 to the Town Watch to fund the annual community festival. Boyle made the presentation during the bimonthly joint meeting of the Fox Chase Homeowners Association and Fox Chase Town Watch.
Although public funding for community events has been difficult to find as a result of recession-related budget cuts, Boyle said that Northeast-based corporation Crown Cork and Seal had sponsored the event and issued the check. Since the recession hit seven years ago, state lawmakers and their constituents have had very limited access to state grant money. So legislators have turned to corporate entities to support community projects. As a Fortune 500 company, Crown is well-positioned to help local organizations.
The Fox Chase Town Watch is a great example of a deserving organization, he added.
“I brag a lot in Harrisburg how, in the Northeast, we put community first,” Boyle said. “It shows that where people are involved in the community, there’s a strong community. In many ways, we put Democrat and Republican aside and work together for the community.”
Fox Chase will celebrate National Night Out on Tuesday, Aug. 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fox Chase Elementary School, Rhawn and Halstead streets. Dozens of local organizations and merchants will join elected officials, police, firefighters and other public agencies in demonstrating unity and support for public safety. Fox Chase Town Watch Vice President John Duffy organized the event for years until his illness and economic factors led to the cancellation of the 2012 installment.
Last year, state Rep. Kevin Boyle and Town Watch President Steve Phillips spearheaded a revival of the event, which Duffy was able to attend. An estimated 2,000 people or more attended the free event.
“The police commissioner said it was the biggest turnout he’d seen at any event in the city,” Brendan Boyle said.
Neighborhoods throughout the city will host their own National Night Out activities on Aug. 5. One night earlier, the citywide Operation Town Watch will sponsor three kick-off rallies, including one at the Target Shopping Center, 7400 Bustleton Ave., from 6 to 8:30 p.m.
In unrelated business, Homeowners Association President Matt Braden reported that the organization is monitoring a zoning case regarding a home at 7943 Verree Road, although the property owner has not contacted the civic group as required by the zoning code.
Records from the Department of Licenses and Inspection show that a Zoning Board hearing regarding the property is scheduled for July 29. The application seeks a permit for construction of a shed and masonry wall, as well as a carport and front porch on a single house.
Braden said that the applicant is required by the Zoning Code to present his plans at a public meeting of the Registered Community Organization for the neighborhood. The Homeowners Association is the RCO and meets on the second Wednesday of every odd-numbered month. The next session will be Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. at American Legion Post 366, 7976 Oxford Ave.
Jeff Dempsey, an aide to state Rep. Kevin Boyle, invited women to register for free mammograms on July 25 at Boyle’s district office, 7801-A Hasbrook Ave. Fox Chase Cancer Center will cosponsor a visit by the mammography van. Eligible women must be age 40 or older and not have had a mammogram within the last year. Tests begin at 10:30 a.m. Call 215-695-1016 for an appointment.
Dempsey also reported that Kevin Boyle has introduced a resolution in the state House to recognize the 20th anniversary of the Eddie Polec murder. The 16-year-old Polec was beaten to death by a gang of suburban youths on the steps of St. Cecilia’s Church. In the face of the tragedy, the community united to form the Town Watch, while Polec’s parents led a grassroots effort to reform the city’s 911 emergency telephone system. The resolution is pending approval by the state legislature. ••