2013 Cedar Park Neighbors Year in Review


2013 was a great year for Cedar Park Neighbors and our neighborhood. And we could not have done it without our great volunteers and members. Most me


2013 was a great year for Cedar Park Neighbors and our neighborhood. And we could not have done it without our great volunteers and members. Most memberships expire at the end of the calendar year. Will you take a moment to click here and join Cedar Park Neighbors today? Annual membership starts at just $7.

What was CPN up to this year? Why, thanks for asking.

block conference1

On January 12, 50 community leaders spent a Saturday morning together at CPN's Block Leaders Conference learning about various community programs and initiatves available to their blocks.


Starting on January 23, CPN co-sponsored a four-week series of classes on basic home repair with The West Philly Tool Library and The Other Carpenter (a project of Habitat for Humanity.) More than 110 people asked to take the free classes in the basement of the Calvary Center on power tools and basic carpentry, plumbing and electricity. Unfortunately, we had to cap enrollment at 40 people per class.


On January 25, CPN joined with the Baltimore Avenue Business Association (BABA) to hold a fundraiser for those affected by the tragic fire that started at Elena's Soul on the 4900 block of Baltimore Ave. The whole community came together and raised over $5000. A special thank you to all the businesses and talent that contributed, including Aksum, The Gold Standard, Queen of Sheba, Vientiane Cafe, Dock Street Brewery, The Cedar Works, The Marvelous, Gretch Elise, Shakey and Sean, and Dr. Ketchup.


In the Spring, David Hincher, representing Cedar Park Neighbors, participated in the Philadelphia 2035 City Planning process as the Philadelphia Planning Commission assembled its district plan for the University/Southwest District (that represents Cedar Park.) More information on the plan can be found at phila2035.org/home-page/district/university-southwest.


Also in the Spring, CPN released the results of its survey of over 500 Cedar Park residents on the Future of Our Neighborhood. The report, conducted in both paper and online versions included input on many important questions about the future of our neighborhood and continues to serve as the basis of our neighborhood work. More information on the survey can be found at http://www.cedarparkneighbors.org/news/future-of-the-neighborhood-report/.


On March 13, CPN convened a neighborhood townhall at the University of the Sciences to talk about the City's Actual Value Initiative (AVI). Over 200 neighbors came out to the meeting co-sponsored by four other neighborhood organizations to hear a range of City officials and experts speak on what AVI will mean to our communities.


On March 16, Mariposa Co-op, our neighborhood grocery store, celebrated the first year anniversary of its expansion. CPN was proud to loan Mariposa $10,000 to help with its recent expansion. It's been wonderful to watch a neighborhood business thrive.

On April 7, CPN's Scholarship Committee held its annual fundraising party at Dock Street. Since 1989, CPN has been supporting our neighborhood students in their pursuit of higher education. Unlike many restrict scholarships, CPN's scholarship offers students funds to pay for any and all school-related expenses, which could be anything from tuition and books, to something as simple as transportation to and from school. This year, we recognized and celebrated our seven scholarship recipients at a special ceremony during our jazz series in August.


On April 19, CPN sponsored a meet and greet event with Congressman Chaka Fattah in the basement of the Calvary Center. Congressman Fattah answered questions from neighbors for over an hour on a range of local, regional, and national concerns.

On April 22, CPN held its 52nd Annual Meeting, electing new officers and board members and saying thanks and farewell to long-serving members.


From May 11 - 17, the CPN Park Committee coordinated events to mark Love Your Park in Cedar Park with a Saturday clean up by 25+ community volunteers and ended the week with a hugely successful Friday night picnic, attended by approximately 150 neighbors


On May 28, the University City District began installing a pedestrian plaza at 48th & Baltimore. The pedestrian plaza, planned with input from CPN and others, increases the safety of pedestrian, cyclists, and motorists navigating this well-used but often confusing intersection.


On June 7, CPN's popular jazz series launched again, bringing free Friday night jazz to neighbors throughout the summer. The jazz series, curated by CPN member Algernong Allen, was sponsored by Little Baby's Ice Cream, Holly Mack-Ward, PFCU, Gold Standard, Gregg and Rachel Mohrmann, U.C. Review, The Gold Standard Cafe, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts / Pennsylvania Partners in the Art.

block conference2

In July, CPN held its second Block Leaders Conference of the year, bringing together leaders from across the neighborhood at the African Cultural Center.


On September 11, CPN convened a tax workshop at the Calvary Center with our friends at Walnut Hill Community Association and Garden Court Community Association. Over 50 neighbors heard invited guests and experts provide information on appealing one's assessment under the Actual Value Initiative (AVI), applying for the homestead exemption, and applying for the City's Long-time Owner Occupied Program (also sometimes referred to as "gentrification relief.")


On September 12, CPN participated in the annual Dollar Stroll down Baltimore Avenue, offering introductory memberships to strollers--until chased away by the quick-moving summer rain storm.


On September 14, CPN was proud to co-sponsor an eight-week session of soccer lessons operated by Soccer Shots at Cedar Park. Soccer Shots is a national program created in collaboration with childhood education specialists, profession soccer players, and experienced and licensed soccer coaches. The program served kids aged 2-4. The program was so successful that Soccer Shots started a new series of classes at the Calvary Center in January 2014.


In December, CPN celebrated its 19th year distributing holiday baskets to neighbors in need. CPN members donated over $2000 so that we could provide holiday baskets to 550 neighbors. The annual holiday basket outreach program truly is a neighborhood endeavor, as 30 people gathered together at Renewal Presbyterian Church on December 21 to assembly and distribute the baskets.


The Parks Committee kept our own Cedar Park clean and green all year, with specific clean-ups, bringing together dozens of neighbors, held on April 13, May 11, October 19 (with UC Green), and November 16. In addition, the Parks Committee held a great community picnic, with specials from neighborhood businesses, on May 17. Dozens of families from around the neighborhood came out to enjoy a warm Spring day.

The Zoning Committee was busy all year long, convening meetings and providing input to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Notable neighborhood developments that came before the Zoning Committee, included a new apartment building at 4812 Baltimore Avenue, Little Baby's Ice Cream at 4903 Catharine Street, Taco Angelino's at 5019 Baltimore Avenue, and the razing of two homes at 4718 and 4720 Chester.

The Development Impact Task Force met monthly to focus on issues regarding development within Cedar Park. From neighbor input to the Future of the Neighborhood survey and other feedback, the DITF developed a working set of principles to guide ongoing discussions concerning development and zoning in our neighborhood.

Sadly, two founders of Cedar Park Neighbors passed away this year. Sarah Mack and Gerald McHugh, Sr. were long-time Cedar Park residents and among the founders of Cedar Park Neighbors over 50 years ago. They are deeply missed.


Whew. We told you that it's been a busy year. And now it's your turn. Please consider renewing or joining CPN today. The easy membership application is available by going to cedarparkneighbors.org/join.

And thanks.