Free is best, and the Spruce Hill Community Association knows that. Right now the SHCA is waiving the first year fee for joining members. Normally the cost is $20 for a year membership, but in hopes of building a larger community base, SHCA is giving away that first taste at no charge. So for West Philly residents living between 38th and 46th Streets and Market and Woodland, now is an excellent time to get involved.
Not entirely sure what a community association is, or what it does? Well, it’s simple, really. Each Philadelphia neighborhood has its own version of a community association or development organization. The main purpose for these groups is to strengthen and improve the area. The organizations also work as a great way to connect residents and provide a voice for each neighborhood. And in the way that each block in Philly is unique with its own issues and values, so are the community associations that represent them.
Neighborhood associations also help keep residents informed of what’s happening in their own backyards. Recently, the SHCA held a meeting to discuss a proposed development project for a vacant lot at 43rd and Baltimore. With the SHCA helping to organize meetings like this one, developers are more likely to hear the concerns of the people.
It’s not all town meetings and zoning codes, though, when it comes to community associations. The New Kensington Community Development Corporation, for example, outlined and executed the Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor Plan, which helped make Frankford Ave the art scene we know it as today. Earlier this month, the South of South Neighborhood Association hosted Plaza Palooza, an afternoon of food, beer and live music. Similarly, SHCA put on their annual May Fair fundraiser in Clark Park – also with live music, food, and family entertainment. That free year-long membership is sounding pretty good right now.
If you’re interested in joining a community association, but you’re unsure which one you belong to, check out Plan Philly at www.planphilly.com. There you can search neighborhoods, find resources and get connected to the organization that represents your block.