Anger over last minute road closures from the Philadelphia International Art Expo is pushing East Mt. Airy Neighbors to take the issue to Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
The event held Oct 14-16 resulted in the entire 7100-block of Germantown Avenue. being closed. What angered many business owners was that they say they weren’t notified before hand and were under the impression the expo events were going to be held inside in several locations.
Several board members expressed frustration that this event was able to take place without obtaining signatures approving the event. EMAN board member Derek Green raised the point that if an individual were to hold an event on a residential block, they would need to obtain signatures for 80% of their neighbors in support of the event.
“Policy and procedure [were] not followed,” said board member Vernon Price, regarding the Art Expo.
A letter will be drafted in the coming weeks, from several neighborhood groups, expressing frustration over the event’s circumstances. It will be sent to the city’s managing director and, possibly, Mayor Michael Nutter.
“We need to move up the food chain and figure out what happened so that we can work to prevent a snafu like that from happening again,” said Executive Director Elayne Bender.
Green Tree School coming to Mt. Airy
One organization that says it will fully involve the community in its upcoming plans is Green Tree School.
The school says it is planning to hold “Town Hall” meetings to keep neighbors updated on its plan to move its educational center to 1196 East Washington Lane in East Mt. Airy.
Green Tree Executive Director Dr. Herman Axelrod and its Education Director Bill Goldschmidt attended last night’s EMAN meeting to brief the board on the move.
Currently the program, which provides one-on-one support for children with emotional disabilities, Autism, and other developmental delays, is divided amongst several neighborhood schools.
“We’ve decided it’s time for the Green Tree Students and staff to work in a state-of-the-art facility,” said Goldschmidt.
Green Tree plans to demolish the three buildings currently on the proposed property and will construct a 60,000 sq. ft. educational facility. This facility will include classrooms, a gymnasium, and a common area.
Goldschmidt promised that an advisory board, made up of representatives from neighborhood groups, would be called upon to help in the design process. Construction is expected to start as early as June 1, with a projected completion by fall 2013.
EMAN membership declines
Well into their membership campaign for the current fiscal year, EMAN is disappointed to report that membership is down 37% from last year. Treasurer Dutch Klugman declared that, in spite of this loss, things are looking up for EMAN. The annual deficit appears to be around $6400, the “best we’ve had in years,” Klugman said with a smile.
Many community organizations in the area have been suffering. West Mt. Airy Neighbors and Chestnut Hill Community Association have seen membership either drop or remain flat and are trying to be creative in their approach. Newsletters have been sent out and welcome baskets for new neighbors assembled.
In addition to putting pressure on membership, EMAN is looking to group events to help bring in the funds needed to continue their work.
One such event is the upcoming “Cookin’ with Who?,” which is co-sponsored by the Neighborhood Interfaith Movement (NIM) and the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia (LTSP). The event, a community “celebrity” cook-off, will be held at the Brossman Center on the LTSP campus