Focus of Frankford: Margie Rivera
Margie Rivera never intended to become a community activist when she and her husband, Nelson, bought their home in Frankford on the 1500 block of church Street in 2005. They enjoyed the neighborhood.
In the nice weather people would sit out on the front steps and chat back and forth. In the summer their girls would enjoy the backyard pool. It all came to a screeching halt early in 2009 when the two homes next door were sold.
The word got out that they would become recovery homes for single men. That became a reality when work to convert the single family homes into multiple units began. Men began to move in at the same time.
Quality of life on the block to a nose dive. They were besieged at all hours of the day and night by noise in the house next door and people coming and going at all hours. There was obvious drug activity.
Margie started making calls. It turned out that a zoning hearing would be required to legally convert the properties and Margie did not want that to happen. She started making noise. The Frankford Civic Association got involved along with Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez office. Over the next few months Petitions, letters from city, state and federal officials and all other stake holders were collected. Finally at the zoning hearing in December, the owner failed to appear and the application was denied.
As a result of all the negative publicity, the owners changed their plan and now women are housed in the properties. This has made a positive difference.
As a result of the experience, Margie became active in the Frankford Civic Association and is now on the board of directors and Vice President. She is a reluctant activist. Her concerns are the welfare of her family and community. And of course, there is now grandson Joshua to consider. Her advice to others in this situation is to get involved. She did and it made a difference.