ACHIEVEMENTS
 

These are some of our achievements as a neighborhood group. Some are small, others larger.... but each can make a difference in someone's day, or in life in Melrose Park.

Beautification - Neighbors have gathered, bought plants with their own money or our group's funds, and contributed hard work. The result has been many beauty spots in our neighborhood. 

More than many of our efforts, this beautification work gives a noticeable lift to the spirits and helps us feel a sense of common purpose. Leading this work has been our own indefatigable Gwen Koths.

 
The Mill Run Bench! - This bench overlooks Mill Run at a scenic spot. It was an idea of Andy Rudin's to have one at this location, about 500 feet from the intersection of Coventry Avenue and New 2nd Street. Commissioner Mike Swavola helped us by having Town workers remove nearby debris and install the bench. To find it, head "north" on Coventry away from Cheltenham Avenue. As you approach the stream bridge just before New 2nd Street, slow down. On your right, see the last "No Littering" sign before the bridge. Go into the woods at that point and you will see the bench just a few feet ahead.
 

Though it's hard to point to togetherness as a tangible accomplishment, we've at the very least brought people together. At our meetings such as this one that focused on safety issues -- people have come to know one another.

For sure, relationships have been fostered, and people have worked together. Though the least tangible, this is probably the most valuable thing we've done.

SEPTA Fence - Do good fences make good neighbors? Not sure! But we do know that this fence along Mill Road between Windsor and Stratford has helped keep schoolchildren off the dangerous tracks. We worked with town officials and the SEPTA Board to accomplish this.  Special credit goes to Bill Donnelly and Michael Shechtman, who worked on a petition to get this fence built, and who followed through.

Graffiti Removed from Union Avenue Bridge - It may be a small thing, but it bothered many neighbors to see graffiti on this bridge, near Myers Elementary School.  We worked with SEPTA officials to get the graffiti removed.

SEPTA Bench - This may seem like an inconsequential thing... a bench... a place to sit while waiting for a train before we got the new station. But this bench story turned into an adventure. What happened was that an older bench that only had a couple of planks to sit on. SEPTA removed the bench to "repair," and there it stayed.  After inquiring and complaining for 9 months, we finally got a new bench. It took about 100 phone calls spread over that time, many coordinated through our SEPTA subcommittee.

SEPTA sign box - This sign box enables our organization to keep commuters informed about our activities. We updated it about every 2 months. Several neighbors have learned about MPNA through it. Neighbor Mark Cortez built the Plexiglas and wood box, which has a little door on it -- and we again thank him for it! Unfortunately, we cannot have it in the new station.

SEPTA Public Telephone - Not everyone has a cell phone! A pay phone was installed on the inbound side, thanks to MPNA efforts.  Helaine Zlotnick worked on this project.

Though we don't have a heading for the work of neighbor Maureen Hicks, it's important to say that Maureen has played an enormous role in many of the SEPTA improvements that have been made in recent years. She has urged the Town and SEPTA to make needed improvements, and her efforts led to million of dollars worth of improvements.  Thanks for setting a great example, Maureen!

Heated Waiting Room at the old SEPTA Station - We have no picture for it yet, but this one is worth posting.   Sometimes it doesn't take $100,000 grant to make a difference in a  neighborhood. It seems commuters were freezing in the waiting room at the southbound SEPTA Station.  Some neighbors said it would be nice to have a heated waiting room (What a concept!) Maybe a heater should be installed. A little investigation turned up the fact that there was indeed a heater in the station. The problem was that it overheated the station workers, whose work area is compartmentalized and apart form the commuter area.  Andy Rudin discovered that a simple baffle (a metal disc that pivots) could be installed to moderate the flow of hot air and achieve balance. Net result: everybody warm, and nobody over-heated.

Yellow lines on Granite Road - Here's another seemingly small thing. The problem was that motorists could not see the dividing line on the road. (This intersection is also known as Cheltenham and Coventry Avenues, but the road that hits Cheltenham is actually Granite.)  It's actually dangerous to drive without awareness of the proper lane since the road curves and narrows at the same time. Calls to the Town and to Mike Swavola resulted in a re-painting.

Bushes trimmed at dangerous Union and Mountain Intersection Accidents were waiting to happen at this intersection, a fact that was due in large part to overgrown bushes. The blocked the views motorists had of one another.  Through the assiduous work of Helaine Zlotnick, this problem was resolved.

 
 
Pollution reduced in Mill Run - The first goal of Melrose Park Neighbors Association (even before it had a name) was to reduce the pollution level in the stream that meanders through our neighborhood.   E. coli counts have declined from approximately 200,000 colonies per cubic milliliter of stream water to less than 10,000 colonies. We have worked with many levels of government to achieve any positive results obtained thus far. Governmental groups we have worked with include Cheltenham Township, the Water Department of the City of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and the offices of State Rep. Lawrence Curry and State Senator Allyson Schwartz.
 
 
Many homeowners' illegal cross-connects to the stream system have been remedied, as has an illegal cross-connect from a Cheltenham Avenue supermarket. However, much more needs to be done. This will be an important focus of our upcoming work.
 
 
Earth Day Clean-ups - Earth Day has been held in April every year since the early 1970's. In Melrose Park, we've restored Earth Day celebrations and activities every year since 1999.  In 2000 (right), dozens of bags of trash were hauled out of Mill Run and surrounding river banks by teams of neighbors. In 2001, Cub Scouts joined in our activities. We have also planted bushes, annuals and perennials.
 

What will our next achievements be? Come make them happen!

Contact: caryl.levin@verizon.net

 
 

   

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