EFNC Supports Yard Tree Giveaway in Southwest Philadelpia

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition is a proud partner of the Yard Tree Giveaway in Southwest Philadelphia!  Now through October 17, while supplies last, Philadelphia residents can register for up to TWO FREE trees to plant in a yard or lawn on private property. Several species are available, including Sugar Maple, Willow Oak, Hackberry, American Hornbeam, and Corneliancherry fruit tree.

Trees are a vital part of every community in Southwest Philadelphia and anywhere! Trees shade homes, provide habitat for wildlife, and beautify our neighborhoods. Trees also promote human health, increase air quality, soak up stormwater, save energy, reduce costs to taxpayers—and sometimes simply provide a much-needed place of solace in a bustling urban center!

TreePhillyFlyer-SW Philly 2015Pre-register now by clicking this weblink, and select your choice of tree species. Maximum two trees per person; trees must be planted in Philadelphia. When you pick-up your trees, you’ll also receive a free bag of mulch, educational materials and information on how to plant and care for tree.

Pick up your tree on Saturday, October 17th from 10:00am – 12:00pm at Longstreth Elementary School, 5700 Willows Avenue in West Philadelphia.  *PLEASE NOTE: Any leftover trees at 12:00pm will be made available for walk-in residents, so be sure to pick up your trees by noon!*

This Yard Tree Giveaway event is hosted by John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum, Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition, Friends of Heinz Wildlife Refuge and Audubon Pennsylvania.

Sponsored by Tree Philly, a program of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation.

TreePhilly_PPR_vertical_transparent

Historic Announcements about Korman, 128-acres, and Community Planning – Meeting on July 16, 2015

Come out to a public community meeting on July 16 to hear first-hand, historic announcements regarding Korman, the 128-acre green space adjacent to Heinz Refuge, Eastwick community planning and flood mitigation.

EFNC urges all Eastwick residents and stakeholders to attend this important meeting, convened by Councilman Kenyatta Johnson. Officials from the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, and the Philadelphia Water Department will be on-hand to provide long-awaited news, and answer questions.

Community Alert - Eastwick Community Meeting 2015-0716-KJohnson

If you care about the future of Eastwick, and the green space adjacent to Heinz Refuge, don’t miss this historic meeting!  A huge turnout is needed to show elected officials the magnitude of decisions!  Forward this information to all your contacts, and bring a friend with you!

Community Meeting:
Thursday, July 16, 2015
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Eastwick Wellness Center
2821 Island Avenue, Philadelphia PA 19153

If you need transportation to the meeting, please contact Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition at EastwickFNC(at)gmail.com.

We look forward to seeing you on July 16, 6:00 pm, at the Eastwick Wellness Center.  Thank you.

Eastwick Engagement throughout September

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) has been busy throughout September, engaging in multiple community outreach initiatives to connect with hundreds of people.

On September 18, EFNC hosted a Public Community Meeting at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge that attracted more than 80 attendees.  People came out to learn and ask questions about community environmental health issues, especially related to Clearview Landfill clean-up.  Speakers included Dr. Marilyn Howarth (Director of Community Outreach and Engagement Core, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, University of Pennsylvania), Josh Barber (Remedial Project Manager Region 3, EPA), and Derron LaBrake (Ecological Consultant, Darby Creek Valley Association).  EFNC President Terry Williams introduced new Heinz Refuge Manager Lamar Gore, who expressed eagerness to work closely with Eastwick residents and stakeholders in his new capacity at the Refuge.  PILCOP lawyer Amy Laura Cahn moderated an insightful Q&A session, followed by light refreshments.

EFNC Public Meeting Heinz 2014-0918 -Debbie Beer 02

A few days later, on Saturday, September 20, EFNC staffed an exhibit table at the annual “Cradle of Birding & Conservation Festival” at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. We distributed myriad informational brochures and connected with hundreds of festival visitors interested in Eastwick community issues.

2014CradleHeinz-EastwickCoalition02-DebbieBeer-edit

EFNC outreach efforts expanded to New York City on September 21, when EFNC organized a busload of community residents and supporters to participate in the historic “March on Climate Change.” EFNC President and bus captain Terry Williams rallied and entertained nearly 50 people who departed early that morning from the Penrose Plaza in Southwest Philadelphia.  EFNC’s bus was one of 60 that transported thousands of marchers from Philadelphia to raise their voices in peaceful unity, demanding responsible action from our leaders on global warming.

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition is one of nearly 1,000 organizations nation-wide that officially endorsed the People’s Climate March, with this statement:  “The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) fully endorses the Peoples Climate March—anticipated to be the largest march on climate change in history. We are committed to working with our allies to amplify the call for world leaders to take bold action to address climate change and move toward creating a more sustainable global environment and economy that works for everyone. As part of EFNC’s continued environmental justice community education and engagement efforts, we look forward to organizing Eastwick community members and stakeholders to participate in the Peoples Climate March on September 21, 2014.

2014_9_21_PeoplesClimateMarch_Autumn_Stein_Photography-24 LowRes

EFNC appreciates the support and encouragement of the Sierra Club local chapter in this initiative, recognizing that climate change is a social justice issue, as well as an environmental one.  Anne Lovatt, chair of the Sierra Club’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Group, states, “According to the EPA, not only is Pennsylvania the third largest producer of carbon emissions in the U.S., but Philadelphians suffer some of the highest asthma rates in the country as a result of air pollution associated with the burning of fossil fuels. Key areas in the region such as the airport and the nearby Eastwick community will also be on the front line of severe impacts from rising sea levels.”

Joanne Graham, EFNC Treasurer and Environmental Justice Committee Chairperson, was quoted in a Philly.com news article about the Climate March, explaining her interest in environmental issues stems from local community challenges.  Ramona Rousseau-Reid, EFNC Vice President, described the experience as historic, powerful and life-changing.

2014_9_21_PeoplesClimateMarch_Autumn_Stein_Photography-31

 

 

 

 

EFNC Draws Crowd at Community Meeting, Distributes Assessment Survey

More than 100 people turned out for a Public Community Meeting on  Tuesday evening, June 25, 2013, filling a room at the Eastwick Mercy Wellness Center in southwest Philadelphia.  The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) presented a packed agenda, providing updates on key issues that impact community residents and stakeholders.

An Eastwick Community Assessment was distributed for people to complete.  All Eastwick residents, business-owners, and stakeholders are urged to complete and submit; click here to download Assessment.  Scan completed copy and email to EastwickFNC@gmail.com, or snail-mail to EFNC, P.O. Box 16985, Phila PA 19142.

EFNC first came together a year ago to oppose construction of 722 apartments in 51 two-story buildings, on a 35-acre parcel abutting John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge and 87th Street residential homes.  In January 2013, EFNC ratified its bylaws, and became a Registered Community Organization (RCO) with the Philadelphia City Planning Commission.

EFNC has been working hard to identify and understand issues that affect the environmental, economic and social health of our community, including John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.  The list is extensive, as Eastwick is challenged by ongoing flooding, a superfund site comprised of 2 landfills, toxic emissions from mega-highways and oil refineries, jet fuel dumping from planes landing in nearby Philadelphia Airport, industrial noise and air pollution, closing of Pepper Middle School and Comm Tech High School, and weak local economy.  These disproportionate environmental and social burdens mirror historical community disenfranchisement, beginning decades ago when 2,500 acres were seized  and nearly 10,000 residents displaced in an ill-fated urban renewal plan that destroyed the social fabric of Eastwick.

EFNC President Terry Williams moderated the two-hour meeting, introducing more than a dozen EFNC leaders and representatives from key local and national agencies.  The audience was highly attentive, showing positive spirit and community commitment.

EFNC Vice President Ramona Rousseau-Reid stressed the need for local residents and business owners to get involved in the issues, bring friends to meetings, and stand up for Eastwick’s future.  EFNC Board Director Joanne Graham spoke about localized and chronic flooding in Eastwick – the issue that galvanized organization and garnered support and action from Philadelphia elected officials and agencies.  Joanne introduced 3 representatives from FEMA, who spoke about FEMA’s role in flood plains and flood insurance.  FEMA Rep Dave Bollinger urged people not to buy flood insurance from mortgage companies, who charge higher rates through brokers; he suggested buying directly from main insurance carriers.

Michael Nairn, Professor of Urban Studies at University of Pennsylvania, asked everyone to “aim high, produce bold new ideas” in regards to the best use of the 128-acre parcel at stake, and crafting future vision of Eastwick.  “Our priorities are clear, to protect residents from harm, increase amenities, save the environment.”  The City of Philadelphia and Army Corps of Engineers has a draft proposal to build a levee on Cobbs Creek near the planet-named streets [Saturn Place, etc.], to mitigate flooding from those severely-impacted areas.  EFNC cautions this approach, as it might simply move the flooding problem downstream to Heinz Refuge and Tinicum Township.

Josh Barber and Larry Brown were on-hand from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), commenting briefly on status of  Clearview and Folcroft Landfills superfund remediation options.  Josh invited all to attend an EPA meeting on July 18, 6:00-8:00 pm, at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, featuring more detailed information about clean-up plans for these superfund sites, and Q&A session.

EFNC Board Director Earl Wilson added compelling perspective to the Clearview Landfill, recalling years ago when residents heard the daily rumble of trucks headed to “Heller’s Dump” to unload mountains of trash into the creek.  He noted the landfill became so large that it re-directed creek waters and increased neighborhood flooding.  Terry Williams remembers playing in the dump as a kid, having no idea it would someday become a toxin-leaching superfund site.  Earl was pleased to hear Josh Barber speaking about EPA site remediation, indicating, “For 30 years we’ve heard them say, ‘We’re going to get to that,’ and now we’re finally getting all the parties to the table!”   Earl urged community members to act as disciples, getting more neighbors to meetings. “You’ve got to generate the energy to move forward.”

Terry Williams indicated the urgent need for economic development in Eastwick, with its lack of local-owned businesses and empty store fronts in the flagship Penrose Shopping Plaza on Island Avenue.  Airport expansion must prioritize local residents for employment opportunities.

EFNC Secretary Debbie Beer spoke about environmental stewardship as a fundamental principle of future sustainability, co-existing alongside economic development and social structure.  The 128-acre parcel of land that catalyzed EFNC into action last year, provides critically-important stormwater storage for Eastwick right now.  Debbie advised, “Airport expansion will cause the loss of wetlands and even fill parts of the Delaware River.  The airport is required to mitigate their actions, and this parcel of land is the perfect opportunity for that mitigation to occur locally, and benefit the community.”  She noted, “publicly-accessible wetlands landscape with raised boardwalks, interpretive signs and educational programs would greatly enhance tourism opportunities for the region.”

Attorney Amy Laura Cahn, of Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia (PILCOP), reflected on the past year of EFNC activities, since she first began representing the Coalition.  She praised the dedication of folks who turned out in droves and spent hours at City Hall to oppose the rezoning bill that would’ve allowed Korman to build apartments.

EFNC has cultivated strong allies in the past year, garnering support from Senator Anthony H. Williams, Congressman Bob Brady, and Councilman Jim Kenney.  We appreciate a strong relationship with Local Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who was represented at the meeting by his legal counsel Steve Cobb, and Chief of Staff Chris Sample.  40th Ward Leader Edward Thornton expressed support for EFNC and it’s goal of building a strong future for Eastwick.

Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition maintains its unwavering commitment to an environmental, economic and socially sustainable future for Eastwick.  Community awareness, education and information is key to achieving success, and EFNC will continue to engage residents and stakeholders in future meetings.  Thank you to everyone who attended the Public Community Meeting on June 25.  Please sign-up to follow our blog via email, and check our website frequently for meeting notices.

%d bloggers like this: