Cedar Park Neighbors’ annual meeting will be on Monday, April 18th, at 7:00 pm at the Calvary Community Center at 48th & Baltimore. We’ll hear a report of what CPN has done over the past year and vote for next year’s officers and board members. Voting for CPN Board Members will begin at 6:30 pm. General membership meeting and presentations start at 7:00pm. To vote, you must be a current member of Cedar Park Neighbors as of April 1, 2016.
The meeting will take place at Calvary Center for Culture and Community in their chapel. Please enter through the doors on 48th Street.
At the meeting, you will also get to meet the candidates for the CPN Board of Directors. If you’ve never been to a CPN meeting, the annual meeting is a great introduction to the organization and the work that it does throughout the year. An informal meet and greet will follow the meeting. More meeting information is available on our Facebook page.
Below are the candidates who are standing for election:
Candidate for President
50XX Catharine Street
David moved from Texas to Philadelphia in 2006 and bought their home in Cedar Park over 8 years ago. He and his wife are raising their 7 year old daughter and are actively engaged in the West Philly Girl Scout troop. They love the neighborhood and are excited to see it brimming with activity and new businesses. David worked with Soccer Shots to bring toddler soccer program to Cedar Park in fall 2013 , which now offers their program to the community year round.
He has a particular interest in issues that impact the quality of life in the community, such as the vitality of neighborhood schools, zoning, development, safety, etc. David was the lead volunteer on the Baltimore Avenue Community Corridor design study, completed in 2010. He is the chair of the Development Impact Task Force, which produced the “Future of the Neighborhood” survey in 2012. David’s goal is to assist CPN in achieving the Baltimore Avenue vision to re-extend prosperity further west along our main street corridor.
Candidate for 1st Vice President
7XX S. 48th St.
Suzanne joined the board in 2013 after being active on the Zoning Committee for several years. She lives on the 700 block of S 49th Street with her husband, Kelvyn, two teenage daughters and two Golden Retrievers.
Suzanne currently work as a psychiatric social worker at Mercy Philadelphia Hospital at 54th & Cedar Avenue, having earned her MSW from Temple University 20 years ago and her JD from Widener University School of Law in 2012.
An avid gardener, her particular civic interest is in greening and cleaning the community. Suzanne hopes to continue to apply her skills and interests to reduce blight and litter and increase the number of trees and amount of green space in the Cedar Park. She believes that a cleaner and greener neighborhood will enhance the quality of life for everyone in Cedar Park.
Candidate for 2nd Vice President
A native of West Philadelphia has become one of the leaders in her humble Cedar Park community. In 2016, Renee received an award from the Mastery Charter School on Shoemaker campus for participating on their career day events. In addition, she was featured in the “Them That Do” project of Visual Artist, Lori Waselchuk’s 40th Street, “Windowishes” Street Art Exhibit. Ms. McBride-Williams received the 2014-2015 Dorothy I. Height Award from the National Council of Negro Women, Philadelphia Chapter for her community service and leadership.
Renee McBride-Williams is the General Manager to West Philadelphia’s only community radio station, WPEB 88.1 FM. While juggling her responsibilities to the broadcasters at the station, Renee was the Project Manager for the 2015, “Arts On Air” projects spearheaded by Scribe Video, Inc. and sponsored by PNC Bank Arts Alive Project. She is also the director of the “Youth On Air” project at WPEB. With all that, Renee McBride-Williams is a mentor and educator to middle to high school students in the Philadelphia school community while still volunteering in the Arts and Broadcasting, Today, Renee is the Senior Executive Producer of a public affairs program called, “The Shed Kitchen” with Karen Dunn and Tamara Dumas. Above all, she is committed to her 16-year marriage to her best friend, George E. Williams and mother to 5 time Grammy winner, Bassist Christian McBride.
Candidate for Treasurer
50xx Catharine St.
Amara Rockar has lived in West Philadelphia for over a decade, most of it in Cedar Park. She and her husband bought their home in 2010, and are raising their family here. Amara is a board member of the West Philly Coalition for Neighborhood Schools. During the day, she works as an admin for the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education.
Candidate for Secretary
46XX Chester Avenue
Tori is a Communications and Project Manager at the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. She manages HomeHUB, a special homeownership initiative in PA, and provides management and outreach assistance for policy campaigns and specialized projects at the Housing Alliance. Tori is also in charge of all communications at the Housing Alliance, including social media, the newsletter, and the website. Prior to working at the Housing Alliance, Tori served two terms in Americorps, one with Americorps NCCC in Denver Colorado and one with Public Allies in Delaware. Tori holds a bachelor’s degree in Women Studies and Psychology from the University of Delaware and a MSW from the University of Pennsylvania.
Tori has lived in the Cedar Park neighborhood for four years, always moving within one to two blocks of the previous location. She loves the strong community in the neighborhood, as well as the diversity and green space. She hopes to contribute her knowledge in the housing field, as well as communications skills to Cedar Park Neighbors, in order to increase community involvement in and the capacity of the organization, so the organization can make a greater impact year after year.
Candidates for At-large Board (vote for up to 9)
10XX S. 47th Street
Al Airone has lived in West Philadelphia since 1982, having moved here from New York City along with his wife, Carolyn Kelly. Al and Carolyn bought their house on the 1000 block of South 47th in 1984 and have lived there ever since. They have one daughter, now grown, working in Center City and living elsewhere in Philadelphia (but we still talk!).
Al was always impressed by the strong tradition of neighborhood involvement in West Philly and the vitality of the many neighborhood organizations. Al served as an (totally unofficial) block captain for a number of years, and also served on the board of the Squirrel Hill Community Association in the early 1990’s. He was active with corner recycling and later was the regular volunteer at the Cedar Park Recycling venue at 50th and Baltimore for a number of years.
Al retired from the Philadelphia Water Department just over a year ago, having worked there for 25 years in the laboratory division, first as a chemist, then as the lab’s main IT person. He enjoys walking around the city and the neighborhood, making use of the many coffee-shop reading locations (he can be found at least once a week in the Satellite Cafe), keeping up his IT skills, and generally keeping up with goings-on around the neighborhood. He welcomes the chance to serve a term on the Cedar Park Board.
5XX S 49th Street
Mike is a Philadelphia trial lawyer representing persons, accused or injured, with a multi-state practice in the state and federal trial and appellate Courts of New Jersey, and Pennsylvania for over 35 years.
He lives with his wife, Sharon, an Orthopedic nurse practitioner at CHOP, and their youngest of 7 children, Lindsey, who is a junior at Merion Mercy Academy. They lived in our home from 1982-90 and then moved and lived in NJ for 25 years while renting their home in Cedar Park. They moved back last June and are back for good. They hope to contribute to the community in any way they can.
10XX S. 49th Street
Jo Ann moved onto 49th St. in 1972, raised her son Harry here, and has always thought this is the best neighborhood in Philadelphia. It worries her that the housing prices continue to grow but she hopes CPN can work to make sure there are homes for people of all income levels. Jo Ann is retired from over 30 years teaching at Jones Middle School in Port Richmond, and for many years was involved with Warrington Garden and Philadelphia Green. Since retiring, she has been working in adult beginning literacy, most recently in a program sponsored by the Friends of Kingsessing Library. Jo Ann would like to get more involved in social justice efforts, especially decarceration and reading classes for returning citizens.
9XX S 49th Street
Rhone has been living in Cedar Park for about two years, since March 27, 2014, and has organized many community events in that time. The past two summers he organized “Readings at the X” – free bi-weekly readings with professional actors including BRYAN ANTHONY WILSON, ZUHAIRAH MCGILL and NORMAN MARSHALL, under the pavilion at Malcolm X Park, showcasing “historic plays that show more militant and revolutionary themes of Black Life.” Rhone is a well-read historian who teaches at Howard University (he goes to DC Tue-Thur for this) and volunteers tour guides at the Paul Robeson House. He is starting a chess class for West Philadelphia youth on alternate Saturdays from March 19th to May 14th. He is also a board member of the Liberty City Democrats and the Life Center Association; he lives at the Sankofa House where he and his housemates host events like weekly Sunday “Art Church” for community members to come play music, make visual art and do yoga together.
9XX S St. Bernard Street
Lisa has lived in the Cedar Park neighborhood since 1983. During the last 12 years she has served on the CPN board and Zoning Committee. She hopes to be able to help the Cedar Park community grow and change in a positive way that is inclusive of all community members.
48XX Baltimore Avenue
Franchon is owner/operator of Hair Vyce Studio at 4828 Baltimore Avenue. H V S was born here, in Cedar Park late summer of 2013. For 16 of her 24 years in cosmetology, she worked in Rittenhouse Square located in the heart of Center City. West Philly was her first choice of a location for the salon, because: (1) she owns a home in the neighborhood, (2) the location is close to Center City and close proximity of New Jersey, (3) diversity of businesses in the surrounding community.
Community service is a key qualification for consideration to become a Cedar Park Neighbors Board member. With 24 years of cosmetology, customer service and community service come hand in hand. Her strong interpersonal skills make Franchon a great communicator. For over two years, she has served on the Baltimore Avenue Business Association, BABA Marketing, and most recently, was chosen to be its vice president. In becoming a Cedar Park Neighbors member, her contribution will be to strengthen the bond between the neighbors of Cedar Park and rejuvenating CPN’s outreach to the community. Sitting on the board would also strengthen communications between BABA and CPN. Dual seating brings the voice of the community to the ears of business owners.
50XX Catharine St.
Kelly relocated to Cedar Park in 2004 and live on Catherine Street with her partner, 2 children and 2 rescue cats. Growing up in Brooklyn, she has a deep respect for the neighborhood and supporting those around you. She is interested in maintaining open communication and respect for the neighbors while supporting new opportunities for celebrating the diversity of Cedar Park.
10XX S 51st Street
Ryan Spak is an entrepreneurial business owner dedicated to his family, his city and his neighborhood. He and his wife, Jessie, are firmly planting their family’s roots in this community. Over the past several years, Ryan has invested heavily in rehabilitating distressed properties in our neighborhood. It is his desire to continue to invest physically and monetarily in the neighborhood in the future. But it is also important to him to invest in the community by engaging his neighbors. Joining the CPN board will allow Ryan the opportunity to continue support the community and its efforts.
Five years ago, Ryan created Project Rehab for the University City District. This completely free, yet comprehensive real estate program guides owners of distressed properties through the process of rehabilitation. The program has positively influenced the renovation of 24 previous blighted properties, creating over $8.1 million in real estate values in our neighborhood. Over that same time, Ryan has practiced what he teaches others by financing, rehabilitating and managing more than 30 units —mostly in West Philadelphia.
49XX Walton Ave
A resident of West Philly for 7 years, David is excited about the opportunity to join the Cedar Park Neighbors board. By day he works as a social worker at Community Legal Services advising and representing subsidized housing tenants facing eviction. He is particularly proud of his work organizing the Philadelphia Hoarding Task Force to expand resources available to people who struggle with hoarding. On evenings and weekends he rehabs and manages real estate through his company Hayworth Properties. A big fan of movies and board games, David can also be seen around Cedar Park stocking vegetables at Mariposa or eating pesto buddies at Satellite.