EMAN jumps back into session with talks of membership, sustainability and Chelten Plaza

School isn’t the only “back to” ushered in by September’s shorter days. Reconvening at Tuesday’s meeting after a long summer break, East Mt. Airy Neighbors (EMAN) was ready to hit the ground running.

Aisha Brooks-Lytle took the reins as President, expressing excitement for her new role as the head of the group. She also encouraged members to lean on each other.

“I would like to see folks work together in teams,” Brooks-Lytle said, adding that she didn’t want any single person to feel overwhelmed with the duties that may be asked of them.

One of the first items on the agenda was EMAN’s membership campaign. Originally slated to start in July, the campaign was placed on the back burner while a couple of board members dealt with family issues.

“We now have a deficit because of the membership delay,” said Treasurer Dutch Klugman.

EMAN is hoping to bridge the gap in its finances with the help of membership dues. A newsletter will be sent to 2,500 homes in the next week to prompt new membership.

Neighborhood sustainability

Much of the meeting’s focus was on sustainability and improvements in Mt. Airy. Hollie Malamud-Price, Executive Director of the Mount Airy Business Improvement District (BID), joined the group, asking for support of her organization as they move forward in their mission.

In the past, BID has successfully transformed Germantown Avenue through clean-up projects, installation of potted plants and hiring two full-time employees to clean, sweep and act as ambassadors along the avenue. BID will hold their annual meeting at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Hagan Center on the Campus of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP).

EMAN Executive Director Elayne Bender also mentioned that a sub-committee was in the works to provide education to the public on weatherization and cutting energy costs. An electronic recycling day, for all of the electronic gadgets collecting dust on shelves, is also in the works. Additionally, a Christmas tree recycling day will be held following the holiday season.

Addressing Chelten Plaza proposal

Bender presented an email from Susan Guggenheim, Secretary of the West Central Germantown Neighbors (WCGN), requesting a letter of support from EMAN to be presented at an appeal before the Licenses and Inspections Zoning Board against the proposed development of Chelten Plaza. The WCGN is strongly opposed to the plan, proposed by developer Patrick Burns, to construct a dollar store, which Guggenheim says will be the 13th dollar store in Germantown.

EMAN board members took the proposal to heart but ultimately agreed that they did not have enough information to form an opinion on the matter.

“How could we, in good conscience, write anything (for or against the project) unless there’s a presentation to the board?” Brooks-Lytle said.

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