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Community Ambassador Program Meeting

Good sized crowd for a Saturday

Beth Grossman

I went over to historic Campbell AME church on Kinsey Street Saturday morning to check out the Community Ambassador Program.  The community ambassador program is a Tony Payton initiative. It is designed to help the blocks communicate with each other to improve the quality of life in  the 179th Legislative District. He believes that a cohesive effort to fight what problems plague the district is more effective than combating problems as they arise. It is intended to make this an ongoing effort.

I missed the first half hour of the meeting but when I arrived found Beth Grossman, Chief Assistant District Attorney on the Public Nuisance Task Force discussing what could be done about nuisance properties.

Jim Sanders, of Philly 311, was up next and discussed what 311 can and cannot do.  He also talked about their new program,

Jim Sanders

Neighborhood Liaisons.

Tony Payton

A significant benefit in getting a group of people together in one room is the opportunity to hear their ideas.  I was impressed with some of the men there and their response to the “Take back the night” walk the previous evening.  There were some voices that thought it was not an effective way of reaching the people who are involved in the type of violence Frankford has seen over the last few weeks.  Seth Williams made the point that a walk through the neighborhood would not solve the problem.  It will take something more.

There was a survey distributed soliciting information.  You can download the pdf for page one here and page two here.

For further information about this program you may contact Simone Woods at Tony Payton’s office on Frankford Avenue.  The phone number is 215-744-4901.

Simone Woods


3 thoughts on “Community Ambassador Program Meeting

  1. How many more meetings? How many more speeches from politicians and police representatives? It’s nice that people in Frankford are getting together to discuss their problems, but are we really seeing any changes in the quality of life here in Frankford? I do see small pockets of hope for the community in people such as Diane K. and her husband who have worked so hard at making Overington Park the beautiful park it is today and now the people who are working on the garden at Penn & Oxford Ave. But all the work it took to make Overington Park beautiful can be undone because of the people that have been moving into Frankford. Frankford, for the most part, has become a Government funded neighborhood (loads of daycares, recovery homes, section 8 housing, store front churches on the Avenue). We offer youth programs (the new Y) because these programs are funded by the Government. I get so angry when I hear people say “Oh, we don’t want another Northern Liberties, or Main St. in Manyunk. Wouldn’t you like to live in a community where you could walk to a nice restaurant or sit outside at a nice coffee shop on the Avenue? Wouldn’t you like to see a Whole Foods Store and a decent clean supermarket that is within walking distance? Wouldn’t you like to live in a community that offers services to adults over the age of 18?

    A few years ago the students at The University of Penn where getting robbed and beat up by the people who lived in the area at 40th & Chestnut Sts. The U of P knew that in order to stop the violence that was happening to their students they had to do a complete overhaul of the area. If you go to 40th & Chestnut Sts. now you will see upscale stores. And they are very selective about the kind of stores that move into the area. Take a look at what is happening in Fishtown. The property values have skyrocketed. Businesses are moving into the area to make Fishtown a thriving community. This is what it takes to get the crime reduced in a neighborhood. I don’t know if this will happen in Frankford because too many people see Frankford as a low economic neighborhood and they want to keep it that way.

  2. Can’t argue with you Lorraine; everything you posted is true. The people you see at these meetings though are the beginning of what is needed to organize a change. Tony Payton and/or one of his representatives, such as Jorge Santana, attends almost every meeting I’ve ever been too. Along with attending meetings they are active in every event that can help bring positive change to Frankford. The first PSA 1 meeting I ever attended consisted of 5 cops and 4 residents; 8 months later the meetings are standing room only. These meetings are not just talk and hype; they are a way for people who want to create change, come together and share ideas. People realize at these meetings that it’s not just them that are fed up with the downward spiral of this neighborhood, and they can now join together in fixing it. One person cannot fix a problem like Frankford has, but as an ever expanding group progress can and will be made. Know this, not all the representatives are in favor of these drug rehabs, churches, etc. and they are working to regain control of these places. They weren’t built overnight and they will not go away overnight; but they will go away. Stay positive and stay involved if want a great place to live; Northwood civic meetings, Frankford Civic meetings, PSA meetings; all times can be found on the PPD 15th district website.

  3. Whenever I attend these neighborhood meetings all I ever hear are residents complaining about the crime and blight on their blocks. And all they want to know is: what are the police gong to do about these problems. There is usually a representative from the 15th police district at the meetings who writes down the complaints and a politician present who listens to the complaints and tells people who they should call or write. Then we have media events like “Take Back The Night” which changes nothing. I have never been to a meeting where any real changes in Frankford are discussed. Having Safety Ambassadors on Frankford Avenue does not make me feel any better about Frankford Avenue. I don’t need politicians or Community Relations Officers from the 15th Police District “throwing me a bone” hoping to make me feel they’re really doing something. What “concrete” changes are being discussed at these meetings that will eventually make Frankford the multi-economic, and working class community it was years ago? What changes are being discussed that these meetings that will discourage more government funded facilities from moving into Frankford and encourage businesses to move into Frankford?

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