Membership decline in the Chestnut Hill Community Association a growing concern

As the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) looks to make the final touches on their budget report, the issue of long term revenues was raised.

Over the years the CHCA has seen a steady decline in membership, which they have attempted to boost through fundraisers and events. Board members came together to discuss the declining trend during their monthly meeting at the Chestnut Hill Library on Thursday evening.

Community Manager Celeste Hardester stressed that the community organization would have to be more creative in its outreach than merely relying on events to supplement membership revenue.

“Membership legitimizes the function and role of this organization,” Hardester pointed out.

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In its heyday, the CHCA had over 3,800 members. To date, the organization has 1,640 members. Some attributed this decline to the turnover of people leaving the neighborhood.

“The problem is that in the last seven to eigh years 70 percent of houses in Chestnut Hill have flipped,” Board member Richard Snowden said.

Other members agreed and pointed out that they need to work at being more creative in terms of recruiting new members. They also stressed that a stronger presence in the community would need to be established in order to accomplish that goal.

“We’re allowing ourselves to be defined by others in the community,” Snowden said.


The Local

In addition to fine-tuning the budget for the CHCA, board members heard reports from the Associate Publisher of the Local, Larry Hochberger, and the paper’s editor, Pete Mazzaccaro.

Mazzaccaro reported that the Local would be requesting to use $4,000 in the first year, and $4,200 in the following year to update from the Nine-year-old eMac computers that the community paper is currently using to newer PCs.

In other progress, Mazzaccaro pointed out that the web maintenance to the Local has been completed which implemented a new commenting system and new navigation network

These changes have seen an uptick in on-line hits for the community newspaper.

“Almost as many people are visiting the site as are getting it in print,” Mazzaccaro said.

The board had a lot of questions but overall seemed pleased with the progress that the Local has made. The new budget for the CHCA will be adopted in April and board members will have time to go through the reports.

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