Meeting Minutes

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+ Board Meeting Minutes: January 2018


A public board meeting of the West Passyunk Neighbors Association was held at 6:30PM at the 1st District Police Station, 2301 S 24th St, Philadelphia, PA 19145. In attendance were the members of the board: President: Elizabeth Crutchley Vice-President: James Gitto Secretary: J.G. McMillan Treasurer: Patricia Forcina Committee Chairs: Katie Wade (Green), Emily McMillan (Clean), Amelia Wiggins (Arts and Culture) At-large Board Members: George Philips, Tomika Anglin Also in attendance were two members of the public.

Ms Forcina updated the board on our account balance of $1084.00. We discussed possible expenditures of our funds, including a storage shed for tools. Ms. McMillan will look into prices for a shed. It was also suggested to go to ReStore to look into a discounted shed as we are a non-profit. Mr. McMillan asked if we need to file taxes this year. Ms. Forcina will check into this and use GuideStar to help. Ms. Forcina and Ms. Crutchley will work on activating the Amazon Smile account.

Committee Updates:

Green: Ms. Wade said there will be a tree planting at a date to be determined. Clean: Possible locations for the tool shed were discussed, including by St. Edmonds, by the school, and in the rec center at the playground. Ms. Wiggins alerted Ms. McMillan to a Philadelphia More Beautiful Summit on Feb 6th. Mr. Gitto nominated himself to serve as co-chair of Clean Committee. Ms. McMillan seconded. The motion passed without objection. Zoning: Mr. McMillan had no updates. Events: Ms. Crutchley mentioned the S’Mac Down to discuss later in the meeting.

Possible fundraisers:

Ms. Crutchley said the S’Mac Down will be held in early or late March, hopefully at the ARS Brewery. Last year the budget was $72.74, and returned several times that amount. Although she anticipates it being less this year, Ms. Crutchley requested authorization for up to $100 for materials for the S’Mac Down. Ms McMillan seconded. The motion passed without objection.

Ms. Anglin suggested a flea market in the Fall, and volunteered to take the lead in organizing that event.

A shredding event for household documents as well as possible special recycling/collection is suggested for Spring with a suggested donation of $5.

Mr Gitto suggested emailing the general list asking for a donation. Ms. Crutchley volunteered to do this shortly.

Ms. McMillan mentioned the T-shirts and sweatshirts. Ms. Wiggins has the name of someone who may be able to print free T-shirts for non-profits. She will provide details for the board to consider, and then the board may decide the timing, vendor, quantity, and design or designs that should be purchased, if any.


Mr. Gitto suggested Not In Philly, where individuals adopt their block and clean it up, documenting trash collected.

We could look into getting a student (Temple, Drexel, etc) to be a grant-writing volunteer for us. It would give them hands-on experience with grant writing and save us time and effort.

Bark Park wished to alert WPNA that they are looking into turning the large open area at 20th and Snyder into a pop-up dog park.

Mr Gitto suggested having summits for businesses, schools, and faith to get our name out into the community and figure out ways to help them.

Moving our meeting location to the Dixon House could be beneficial, but their operating hours is a concern as Ms. Anglin said they close at 6PM.

Ms. Crutchley wanted to bring to the board’s attention the various Newbold CDC festivals that will be held in the coming months: Cinco de Mayo (May 5th at Cafe y Chocolate), Newbold Blues Fest (June 16th, 1-6PM), and South Philly SausageFest (September 29th, 12-7PM).

The board having no further business, Ms. Crutchley adjourned the meeting.

+ Board Meeting Minutes: May 2018


A public board meeting of the West Passyunk Neighbors Association was held at 7:00PM at the 1st District Police Station, 2301 S 24th St, Philadelphia, PA 19145. In attendance were the members of the board: President: Elizabeth Crutchley Vice-President: James Gitto Secretary: J.G. McMillan Treasurer: Patricia Forcina Committee Chairs: Katie Wade (Green), Emily McMillan (Clean) At-large Board Members: Tomika Anglin, Jimmy Marshina Also in attendance were Robbie Marsden (a US history teacher at Universal Vare Charter School) and one of his students.

Ms Forcina updated the board on our account balance of $2207.

Committee updates:

Clean: A new cleanup should be scheduled for June. We want to target the northwest area of our boundaries. Since Jon Jacobs expressed interest in spearheading a cleanup, he could be the point person for this cleanup. A secure location for storing cleaning supplies was discussed again, with the thought that one of the secure courtyards around St Edmond’s would be a good location, and Ms Forcina said she would ask the church officials. Ms Crutchley has a wheelbarrow that can be used to transport supplies. Alley Cleanup Information meeting at the Dixon House has been rescheduled from May 4th at 6pm to May 10th at 6pm. Zoning After several attempts, including discussions with Councilman Kenyatta Johnson’s office, Mr McMillan has been unable to get in touch with Concerned Citizens of Point Breeze (CCPB), the coordinating RCO for an upcoming zoning appeal within our boundaries. After discussion of the issue, Mr. McMillan proposed a resolution that Mr. Gitto coordinate with other RCOs in the area to ensure that neighborhood zoning appeals are only assigned to active and qualifying RCOs, and push the City Planning Commission to inquire into the activity and compliance of CCPB as an RCO. The board approved this resolution unanimously.

Robbie Marsden and his student from the Universal Vare Charter School will work on getting a historical marker to identify the former site of Octavius Gatto’s grave. Students will get the project rolling and pass onto us at the end of the school year. There was a discussion on managing feasibility of other proposed Arts & Culture-related events In light of budgetary and manpower constraints.

Before any town watch activity can occur with a safety committee, we need to get insurance. Mr McMillan is seeking quotes for both Directors & Officers insurance and General Liability insurance.

The Crutchley household will sponsor a business membership at BJ’s for the WPNA organization. This will enable us to make tax exempt purchases for things such as cleaning supplies.

BJ’s also has an annual budget to give local organizations project supplies. There is a 6-week application process. but due to the limitations of their budget there is no guarantee that we will receive supplies.

We discussed a minimum meeting attendance for board members to encourage active participation in organization. If adopted, the change would require an amendment to the bylaws. Before taking any action, the board decided to discuss the possibility at the upcoming general meeting. Suggestions: Must attend ⅔ of general and board meetings in the year (10 of the 15 scheduled meetings) Exceptions to be made for religious observance and extreme health problems, and any other exceptions required by law A missed meeting can be made up for by help at 2 events or other approved activities An evaluation should occur at each board meeting of the past 12 months

The S’Mac Down event was a success, raising $980, less the cost of supplies ($36.50), prizes ($30 in Brewery ARS gift cards), and Square fees for credit card use.

Having a shredding event is looking less feasible due to costs. The vendor ProShred charges $300/hr for 2 hours or $250/hr for 3 hours. Penn Medicine Urgent Care could be a possible sponsor, but we are waiting to hear back. The Streets Department can do a pick up of electronics, but we are waiting to hear back about an estimate of those costs. We need to investigate further before deciding.

We are discussing a fundraiser of a Dog Costume Contest at Brewery ARS and co-sponsored by Bark Park. If an entry fee is charged, it will be small. Votes will cost $1, with no limit on the number of votes a person can cast. We will solicit supplies from PetSmart and Bark Park. Proceeds will go to WPNA.

Having an office location somewhere in the neighborhood was proposed as it would give us a location to store supplies and have neighborhood visibility. There was discussion about if real estate or rent could be considered an in-kind donation. Ms Forcina would want a year and a half of rent available in the bank account before we did this.

The board having no further business, Ms Crutchley adjourned the meeting.

+ Alleyway Cleanup Information Session: May 2018

Alleyway Grant Information Session with State Rep Jordan Harris May 11th, 2018 at Dixon House, 1920 S 20th St, Phila, PA 19145

Minutes courtesy of Kevin Devine, of East Point Breeze Neighbors

This session was to answer questions about the grant and the work being done in the neighborhood. There were a few neighborhood groups as well as concerned neighbors. There was a large contingent from Jordan Harris' office, representatives from NSA Education Network and a representative from the state Department of Community & Education Development (as well as probably some I'm missing). Here are the basics:

  1. Jordan Harris became aware of the grant and reached out to NSA Education Network (which is based in the 186th district) and who he had worked with previously.
  2. NSAEN applied for and was approved for the grant, which was just shy of $250k. Dr. Cassandra Jones lives in the neighborhood and represented NSAEN, she did much of the presentation. (JH wanted to be clear that his office doesn't receive the money nor is he involved in the evaluation process for the cleanups).
  3. NSAEN had identified neighborhood businesses Ready Willing & Able and SURGE who would actually be doing the work of the cleanups. NSAEN would be providing education and guidance to RWA & SURGE. The money that NSAEN receives counts toward the "administrative fees" the grant allows for (which Jordan Harris believed was allowed to be 5% of the grant). Otherwise RWA & SURGE are paid from the grant as they complete projects.
  4. RWA & SURGE evaluated 151 "neighborhoods" (blocks) in the 186th district and reported in the meeting that they evaluated all alleys and empty lots. There was a tool used to grade these areas into three levels; Good, Fair, Poor. (we are supposed to receive a copy of the tool to see the criteria used). Out of the 151 "neighborhoods" 8 were evaluated as "good", 110 as "fair", and 33 as "poor". If the organization received notification (by a private individual or organization) those alleys/lots were also included in the evaluation process. The evaluation took place in August/September of 2017.
  5. RWA & SURGE began cleaning up in phases beginning with the areas evaluated as "poor" first. However some things (locked alleyways, large debris for example disqualified an area for clean-up. They originally had planned to include removal of alley trees in the cleanup but that was quickly taken off the table as it was cost prohibitive and presented legal issues. Also, RWA & SURGE only clean up the debris, the city is then supposed to remove the collected items. NSAEN is trying (this is a new process) to coordinate with the streets department to arrange for these pick-ups, as apparently some of the pickups haven't happened in a timely fashion. Nearby neighbors are supposed to receive a letter informing them of the cleanup and an estimated date the cleanup will happen.
  6. As of April 30, 2018, the 33 "poor" areas had been cleaned,
  7. They then plan to move onto the "fair" area in ongoing phases, the project is planned to continue until Feb. 2019

On the community organization / neighbor side there was a fair amount of frustration that much of this information has been difficult to get and it is seven months after the project began that now there is some visibility. It was suggested to NSAEN that if they had simply reached out to a few neighborhood groups and made this information transparent it would have gone a long way in addressing some of those issues. JH and team felt they had been wrongly maligned on the Facebook groups. JH and NSAEN agreed that there could have been better communication about the project. There were some heated moments but I think eventually everyone tried to focus on the benefit this grant was bringing to the neighborhood...although I'm sure other attendees might have a different perspective (I'm trying to present this information neutrally).

The Outcome: NSAEN confirmed they have a list of areas to be cleaned in the upcoming phases. They have agreed to make that information available with the caveat that sometimes things change. Dr. Cassandra Jones agreed to send the information to Nakia Carr in JH office and she would communicate out to the various groups. ( I spoke directly with Nakia after the meeting and made sure she had my e-mail and asked that she send me the pertinent information. What they agreed to send:

  1. The list of upcoming sites to be cleaned with anticipated dates (subject to change)
  2. The power point they reviewed in the meeting
  3. The letter nearby neighbors will receive