Community Barbecue Fundraiser is Smashing Success
WMAN’s first Community Barbecue on October 28 was a wonderful success, drawing more than 200 neighbors to support the organization, learn more about the Mt. Airy EcoLab, and honor the tireless advocate Yvonne Haskins.
Attendees dined on delicious food from Southern Flames BBQ, listened to music by WOZ and Penny Lane Combo, and had the chance to catch up with neighbors and friends on a gorgeous fall afternoon.
Many thanks to those who joined us, to SEPTA for the fantastic ongoing partnership at the EcoLab, and to our sponsors and volunteers for helping to make the event an excellent experience.
WMAN receives National Parks Service RTCA Grant!
WMAN and our partners are thrilled to share that we’ve received an assistance award from the National Park Service – Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program (RTCA). This grant of planning assistance will support the community-driven development of an Eco-Village Collaborative Project in West Mt. Airy near the Carpenter Lane train station. Proposed onsite efforts include native plant propagation, tree nursery, rainwater collection, soil remediation, wetlands area, raised garden beds, micro-nursery to support greater biodiversity, pollinator patches, a gathering space for Mt Airy Tree Tenders, and more. We invite you to come to our future community sessions to contribute your ideas and help us co-create the vision, or to just stop by and check out the site!
The partners on the project who provided letters of support in the application include Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), Sustainable Choices, LLC, Mt Airy Tree Tenders, Pleasant Advisory Council, Henry H. Houston Elementary, Glitter, East Mt. Airy Neighbors, ECHO Systems, and Mt. Airy Community Development Corporation. We are incredibly grateful for their continued partnership.
The area near the Carpenter Lane train station is owned by SEPTA, which has already completed the initial heavy landscaping of the area, including removal of dead and invasive trees. Their support letter came from Wendy Green-Harvey, Manager, Government Affairs, “With 150 regional rail stations in our system, we value and appreciate establishing relationships with community groups who volunteer service that not only beautifies our stations but provides a clean and green community space. It builds rapport and supports a collaborative synergy at a central neighborhood location – a train station.”
This area will provide a prime opportunity for community engagement. As described in our project application, “This hub is going to be a fun, engaging space to be in community with neighbors, working towards a common goal that betters the natural environment we all share. We anticipate on-site, educational opportunities for children and adults.”
Located at the back of the Carpenter Lane train station, the plot is approximately 200 feet long by 100 feet wide, and sits past the edge of the parking lot. It was previously neglected, with the railway on one length and a failing fence on the opposing side. Neighbors often reported dumping in this area, but since this project has started, dumping has stopped. We’ve already begun re-treeing, purchasing 25 new trees for the edible hedgerow, including apples, pears, figs, serviceberries, mulberries, and chokeberries. We’ve also received complementary grants from the Society of Women Environmental Professionals to build six large raised beds filled with fresh soil to support our on-site intergenerational gardening program, and from Feet First Philly and the Clean Air Council to create a Jr Tree Tenders program for youth in our community to learn how to properly plant and care for young trees.
The NPS-RTCA grant will begin immediately by helping to arrange community listening sessions, and identifying additional partners and funding sources. They will support WMAN in collecting community input and creation of both a master plan for the site and a maintenance schedule. Additionally, RTCA will examine and identify with project partners other spaces in the broader community that could become future greening sites, gardens, or eco-hubs.
Right now, we have huge piles of wood chips that need to be spread to level the terrain, feed the soil, and limit weed growth. If you’d like to get in on the chipping fun, or become involved in any capacity, please contact WMAN Executive Director, Jo Winter– email@example.com.
Revival of the Mt Airy Arts Alliance and Directory!
Mt Airy Arts Festival at Allens Lane
And we still have space for artists to participate in the Art Market!
We want to highlight all the amazing local artists and makers at the Festival. To participate in the Mt. Airy Arts Festival Art Market, artists must reside in the 19144, 19119, and 19118 zip codes. The market will take place on the grounds of Allens Lane Park. Pease join us!
Young Artists Showcase at Mt Airy Arts Festival
|As part of the Mt Airy Arts Festival on September 9th, we are holding a Young Artist Showcase (YAS), featuring the artwork of young people across our community. The YAS will be a juried show, with winners announced and prizes distributed on the day of the festival.
If you have a young person in your life who’d like to participate, please email Jo, firstname.lastname@example.org arrange for pickup of the official printed invitations. Or, if you’re an art teacher and would like to invite multiple students, we’d love to have them join us as well.
We are excited to see what our local young artists have created! Thank you for all that you do to nurture and grow love of the arts in our community!
Thank you for your partnership.
Update on 7078 Lincoln Drive
On Friday, May 12th, WMAN convened an introductory Zoom meeting to discuss the development at 7078 Lincoln Drive with the owner David Mednick, his attorney Mike Philips, and general contractor.
The two main issues discussed were remediation of any potential environmental hazards caused by buried tanks, and parking. Both Mr. Mednick and Mr. Philips assured the group that proper, lawful steps had been taken to make the site safe, beginning in 2014. They agreed to share documents with the community regarding remediation.
Regarding parking, Mr. Mednick stated that initially he intended to build 16 parking spaces under the building, but the logistics were such that near neighbors’ private driveway would have to be used as an easement and exit/entryway to the garage. Given the site’s slope and proximity to the corner of Mt. Pleasant and Lincoln, there was no other option for placement of the door to subgrade parking, and this prevented onsite parking. He also stated that he aims to attract tenants who do not own cars, but who will utilize public transit, bicycles, rideshare, etc and that he understands the dangers of that particular corner, and is willing to work in partnership to address the traffic issues.
WMAN requested that renderings of the building be shared, and that they show the proposed building within the context of its surroundings. Mr. Mednick and Mr. Philips agreed to share drawings.
The timeline for project completion is 18 months, according to the general contractor. Mr. Mednick and his team agreed to attend a larger meeting once the community has had a chance to review the forthcoming reports.
Mt Airy Tenants Meet
WMAN has been getting calls and emails for the past 18 months from tenants facing incredibly challenging issues in some of the large apartment buildings in our community. In one building heat was off for 5 days, with residents being forced to heat their apartments with their ovens. In another building the laundry room continually floods with sewage. The list goes on and on.
On Monday, May 22nd, WMAN hosted the first of a series of Tenant Meetings at Grace Baptist Church. The aims were to build community, share resources and information from tenants rights organizations, and generate a list of common concerns, issues, and questions that we can share with local politicians. While we struggled to get the flyers into the hands of tenants inside apartment buildings, 35 tenants did attend, as well as the Fair Housing Commissioner, and other tenant advocacy experts. The discussion was productive and insightful, and we look forward to bringing more neighbors together in future sessions.
Jr Tree Tenders kicks off with Henry Houston students!
On Friday, May 26th, 27 sixth graders from Henry Houston joined us in the Carpenter Lane eco-space (still working on a formal name, if you have ideas, email Jo!) Together with 12 community volunteers, including 8 experienced Mt Airy Tree Tenders, these students planted 11 trees for an edible hedgerow, including pears, apples, figs, mulberries, chokeberries, and serviceberries. From digging holes and learning to level the young trees in the ground, from watering and mulching, to discovering the cooling power of trees, naming them, and delighting in the huge worms and critters scooting around in the dirt, these young people were an absolute pleasure to work with, and we look forward to hosting them again in the near future to continue their relationship with these trees as they all grow.
Right now this program is supported through a small grant from Feet First Philly and the Clean Air Council. If you’d like to support the growth and sustainability of Jr Tree Tenders, please donate here, and write in the Order Notes section, Jr Tree Tenders.
Quiet Clean Philly
Quiet Clean Philly: Phase-out gas-powered leaf blowers
Help make Mt Airy a quieter, less polluted, and more environmentally-friendly neighborhood by supporting the transition away from gas-powered leaf blowers.
In coalition with groups around the country looking to make our communities more liveable, WMAN supports the phasing-out of gas-powered leaf blowers. Please sign the petition to City Council and the Mayor to support an ordinance supporting this effort: Sign the Petition.