What’s up in Southwest Central Gtown?
If you’ve had your fill of community organization meetings, June’s Southwest Central Lower Germantown Civics Association (SoLo) may have slipped through the cracks or may not have fit into your busy schedule. Luckily we’re here to bring you up to speed on some key developments in the SoLo district.
The meeting kicked off with G. Lamar Stewart, from the District Attorney’s office, speaking about a program by the Philadelphia Police Department called “Turn the Corner.” The program provides “job interview stations,” as Stewart called them, on the corner of busy intersections in the community. The stations allow employers to interact with residents and recruit potential employees. “Turn the Corner has been very successful in other parts of the city, and the Philly police are interested in branching out to other precincts,” said Stewart. By the end of the summer, Stewart expects the Germantown police precinct to host its own Turn the Corner event.
After Stewart fielded questions from the group, Allison Weiss, President of SoLo, took the reins to discuss zoning issues for two construction projects scheduled to be built on the 200 block of West Seymour Street.
The fact that neither project provided parking spaces drew several critical comments from the audience. Weiss did not have many answers for these comments. She instead urged members to attend the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on August 7 in center city to register their objections.
After this, the meeting slowed to a crawl while topics like a town watch were postponed and an announcement of next month’s guest presenter was made.
However, things picked up when a member of the audience spoke about her attempts to engage local schools in a community service effort to clean up Germantown and make it, in the words of SoLo’s motto, “clean, green, and safe.”
When she first started speaking, everyone in the crowd perked up, even though the meeting had trudged on for about 45 minutes at that point. Just as this woman, whose name I didn’t catch, began to really get into the details about how students might make a dent in the trash that has clogged many community streets, President Weiss cut her off, saying the time limit for her section of the agenda was up.
Several members of the audience became visibly annoyed that the woman was cut off, some protesting that minor agenda items had been discussed ad nauseum while the school outreach idea had to be tabled so that the rescheduling of a movie night could be discussed. Weiss did say that the school project would have more time in the next meeting, but that seemed to be a recurring theme as the night went on.
Although the meeting was a useful one, it seemed like the more interesting/pressing issues – like jobs with Turn the Corner and trash cleanup through local schools – were either postponed or not discussed in full, while minor business was discussed more than necessary. I’d hope that in future meetings, the group focuses more on the “big issues” and relies less on the “there’s always another meeting” mantra to address these issues later. Everything can be so easily postponed and procrastinated to another day, making the harder-to-discuss topics more likely to be pushed back again and again.