Mayfair leaders hold preliminary Think Tank meeting

The idea isn’t new: bring together all the Northeast civic, town watch and other community leaders to form a united front.

But Mayfair leaders Monday night breathed new life into an old idea when they gathered for a preliminary meeting to share ideas for a Northeast think tank of sorts.

In attendance were representatives from the Mayfair Civic Association, Mayfair Town Watch, 15th District Police and 3rd Federal Bank. Together, this group — and others who were unable to attend the meeting — is seeking to unite the region’s neighborhood organizations to build and strengthen community relations, safety and business corridors, among other things.

“We all have the same core problems,” Mayfair Town Watch President John Vearling said at the roundtable discussion. Vearling came up with the think tank idea a few months ago when he was driving through his neighborhood and saw 14 houses for sale on one block. He was moved by the need to keep not just Mayfair, but the whole Northeast, stable, he said.

The umbrella organization — tentatively called Northeast Philly Now — will be comprised of representatives from every Northeast neighborhood, in addition to the police districts, small businesses and Greater Northeast Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

“I’m all about retaining and growing business,” said Rose McMenamin, business development officer for 3rd Federal Bank and board member of the GNPCC.

But the problem, McMenamin said, is that few businesses get involved with their local business associations. Lt. Martin Bugieda of the 15th District expressed similar concerns with the low turnout at monthly PSA meetings.

Vearling said one of the goals of the new organization is to remedy the lack of participation by bringing together all facets: neighborhood organizations, police, business and media. Each will do their part, he said, comparing the process to the different spokes of a wagon wheel.

As ideas continue to get tossed around and new and recurring problems arise, the group is taking small steps: recruiting new members, settling on a name and writing a mission statement.

The next meeting is open to the public for all those who want to get involved. While the group is currently short on young and elderly members, it’s also looking to meet with other community leaders. Civic and town watch presidents are encouraged to attend the June 21 meeting at 6 p.m. at the John Perzel Community Center. After that, the group will look to meet at a more central location.

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