Participating in Your Community
Last week was a busy one here. Lots of projects to work on, permits received, construction continuing. At the same time, I was able to make some time for a few community organizations I’m involved with.
First, our local elementary school, Southwark, is contemplating some playground improvements. When I say “playground”, I’m referring to this:
As you can see, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Currently, the only equipment out there are two backboardless basketball hoops bolted to the side of the building.
I got involved with the school through my neighborhood association’s education committee. The committee began working on this idea with the principal about a year ago, and things are now moving forward. I was able to provide them with a site plan to begin preliminary discussions. I will likely not have a large design role in this project–that will hopefully be handled by OLIN, one of the world’s leading landscape architecture firms (I’m not kidding–check out their website), who has an employee living in the neighborhood. Hopefully I’ll have more good news to report on this project in the next few months.
On a related note, I also serve on my neighborhood association’s zoning committee. Each month we hold public meetings with interested neighbors to find out about projects in our area that have applied for zoning variances. The project team–which may include the owner, architect, and/or lawyer–present their project and make a case for why it will be a benefit to the neighborhood. Afterwards, the neighbors take a vote, and we, the committee members, use that vote to help inform our own vote. Our September meeting is tonight, which means that last week I distributed flyers to about 150 addresses within close proximity to this month’s project.
Next on the list is the Penn Jersey Roller Derby League. I began working with the league on a pro bono basis back in January. The have space in a warehouse at 19th and Indiana in North Philadelphia. To call their building “nondescript” would be an understatement:
I’ve put an arrow where their front door is. It has a small stencil with their logo on it, and that’s it. So, we’re going to work on their street presence, as well as their restroom, locker room, and concessions situations. Ultimately, they’d like to be able to host events there and sell tickets to support the league.
Finally, I attended a board meeting at the Tolentine Community Center, right down the street from the office. I’d been asked by the board’s president to consider joining the board, along with a few other people from the neighborhood. It was an interesting meeting, and I learned a lot about where the Center is headed in the next few years. I’ve decided to join, and am looking forward to making a positive impact on the community.
As you can see, your friendly neighborhood architect is up to a lot. I’ll keep you posted on future developments.