Bright and early on Wednesday, Eighth District City Councilwoman Cindy Bass met with local residents at Mt. Airy’s Presser Senior Apartments. Presser residents and involved citizens from Germantown and Mt. Airy came to voice their opinions and share intimate conversations with Bass over coffee and doughnuts.
Bass planned the event to reach people directly since it can be difficult for district residents to address problems going on in their neighborhoods. For example, people may have calls bounce around City Hall and eventually get discouraged.
“There’s a real dysfunction in city government when it should be something relatively simple. Our office is a conduit to get things done,” Bass said.
“We don’t have all the answers,” Bass said. “We encourage people to let us know if they have ideas.”
Lifetime Germantown resident and member of Prince Street Neighbors Association, Angel Saysay arrived prepared with notes and questions for Bass. Saysay works with her neighbors to keep local streets clean and discuss the changes going on in Germantown. She’d like to see inclusive development and access to beneficial resources for longtime residents, as well as more accountability and involvement from emerging businesses and nonprofits. Saysay also touched on her concern for the youth and the need for more after-school programs.
“I’d really like to focus on solutions to improve the community and bring about change,” Saysay said.
Saysay said she appreciated being able to reach her councilwoman at a convenient location, adding that a local office in Germantown would be helpful.
Mignon Hatton-Bryant, social services coordinator at Presser Senior Apartments, expressed a need for better ways to connect seniors to social services. Hatton-Bryant is passionate about caring for the elderly and making sure they are safe, healthy and included.
“People without internet aren’t aware of how to get community news,” Hatton-Bryant said. “We have to find ways to get information out and create an environment that will encourage them to get involved.”
Bass was receptive to her concerns and mentioned putting together a printed resource guide for the elderly to have easy access to reliable services. According to Hatton-Bryant, there are sometimes inexperienced in-home care providers that prey on the elderly, making such a resource guide that would help connect the elderly to professionals they can trust necessary.
The event brought Bass to elderly citizens and brought the community to a building that was recently renovated and opened as Presser Senior Apartments in 2011. Attendees commented that they thought the apartments were a positive addition to the neighborhood and residents shared their satisfaction with the apartments they called home.
Bass and others recalled previous years when the property was not well kept but rather an eyesore for the neighborhood.
“To see the transformation of what the space has become speaks to the transformation that we want to see in our entire district, which is taking the natural beauty that’s there and really finding ways to improve it and grow it. That’s what the community is hungry for,” Bass said.
Bass has held previous coffee hours in Germantown and Mt. Airy and plans to have more coffee hours at Presser Senior Apartments. In the meantime, she left her cell phone number and additional contact with residents.