A little more than 50 people turned out for last night’s meeting of the Lawncrest Community Association — about half the usual number. But the still-sizable group was as vocal as ever, especially when talks turned to quality of life issues.
Mark Mroz, community relations officer for the 2nd District, ran the first 30 minutes of the meeting as part of the PSA Zone 2 meeting, but residents’ concerns stemmed beyond crime.
Homelessness, trash, dog droppings and nuisance bars were among the leading issues in the neighborhood, and many residents had their own ideas about how to fix them.
“It’s not against the law to be homeless,” Mroz told Lawncrest residents in response to concerns about a homeless man spending time in common driveways and front steps.
Mroz told the group that they need to call police for a loitering report in order to have the man — or anyone — removed from the area. Otherwise, there is no crime in standing in a common driveway.
“The only way we can take a person against will [to a shelter],” he explained, “is during a code blue,” when the temperature gets too low outside.
Also keeping residents on alert are several nuisance bars on Rising Sun Avenue. Between noise from smokers outside, loud music and too many patrons, Mroz said many of these bars have violations and are under investigation. Residents who want to take a direct approach at shutting these establishments down can use the Liquor Control Enforcement website to file complaints.
But what had most LCA members up in arms last night were the easier-to-control problems of litter and dog droppings.
From residents and property owners leaving grass uncut to business owners not cleaning up trash, many voiced concerns about the neighborhood looking bad. In addition, many cited instances of dog-walkers not pickup after their pets in common driveways and at the Lawncrest Rec’s fields.
Several donations were made at the LCA last night for community improvement:
Rising Sun Lions Club donated $100 to the Rising Sun Avenue cleanup.
Councilwoman Marian Tasco’s office donated $3,000 to the LCA — an annual grant to help the organization conduct business.
Lawncrest Community Association will donate to the Nov. 27 Beef & Beer for 2nd District Officer Eric Dial. The 35-year-old father was recently diagnosed with an aggressive cancer.
Kathy Wersinger of Councilwoman Marian Tasco’s office explained that some businesses on the avenue have tried putting trashcans out front to combat the litter, many of the cans become dumping grounds for residents who don’t want to wait until trash day. Worse still, she said, the cans are stolen –some on multiple occasions.
Coinciding with these complaints are two neighborhood cleanups.
On Saturday, Oct. 30, Rising Sun Avenue between Adams and Cottman avenues will be cleaned from 9 a.m. to noon with the help of volunteers and Boy Scout Troop 160. The cleanup was organized by the Rising Sun Avenue Business Association, the Burholme Civic and Business associations and the Lawncrest Community Association.
An additional clean up will be held Saturday, Nov. 6 to prepare for Lawncrest’s Veteran’s Day celebration services (held Nov. 11). Volunteers can help Tasco’s office spruce up the Grove at Lawncrest Rec from noon to 2 p.m.
Wersinger and LCA president Bill Dolbow vowed to help residents clear up several problems relating to these issues by reaching out to CLIP, 311 and SEPTA.