Mayfair isn't as bad as Mayfair residents say it is. Our neighborhood should reach back to that infamous Philadelphia billboard of the 1970's and adopt it as our own slogan. For the last three or so years, many neighborhood volunteers have spent time away from their families to make our community a better place to live. Usually when I pick up a copy of the NE Times or go on social media, the person badmouthing our neighborhood is usually one of our own residents and this is disheartening, to say the least. How do we expect other people to respect our neighborhood if our own people dishonor it? Let's be honest, Mayfair isn't what it was in 1980, its isn't what is was in 1990 and it, even, isn't what it was in 2000; but then again what neighborhood is? Some neighborhoods change for the good, some change for the bad and some just change, but that is ok. Different doesn't have to mean bad. Have we seen a decline in mom and pop shops on the Ave? Sure we have. Have we seen an increase in pajama pants in the afternoon? You bet. But that is ok because 2020 isn't going to be like 2010 and 2030 isn't going to be like 2020. I'm sure 2013 Fishtown and Bella Vista wouldn't recognize their 1990 ancestor, but that is what life, in the big city, is all about. Now, you can sit back and watch others enact change on your neighborhood or can get into fabric of the community and change it yourself, from within.
Since we restarted the Mayfair Civic Association just over 3 years ago; we have seen some changes in our neighborhood, but rather than focus on the negatives, let's look at the positives:
- In 2009 there was a dirt and gravel patch on the east side of Lincoln High School which is now a state of the art, handicapped accessible $80,000 playground built with the sweat equity of the neighborhood residents.
- We took a little used block of half vacant storefronts on the 3500 block of Ryan Ave and turned it into a one of a kind Farmers Market, that will be held biweekly starting this spring and will continue to include fresh vegetables, craft beer, local wine and neighborhood residents and merchants selling the wares, all the while, doing so with acoustic music floating in the background.
- We took tragedies that struck our City in the form of Police and Fire deaths and turned them into positives with the Mayfair Fallen Heroes Run and have raised over $20,000 for the families of Police and Fire and an additional $10,000 for scholarships, plaques etc.
- We took a parade that derailed off the Avenue due to a "budget crunch" in the City and infused it with citizen activists and neighborhood talent and put it back on the Avenue, bigger and better than ever.
- We took neighborhood negatives like a proposed Methadone clinic and turned it into a positive by engaging over 800 residents, at community meetings, to stand up and fight to stop it and we won the first round.
- We took a dilapidated, boarded up, vacant property that stood as an eyesore at Frankford and Sheffield and forced the owner to gut the place, fix the interior and install new windows and make it safe and habitable for a future family to call their first home.
- Lastly, we've given the neighborhood events, that in the past, residents would gone elsewhere for, such as an Easter Egg Hunt, our Spring Mayfair May Fair, Fall Festival, Halloween Spooktacular and Christmas Village and heck, we've even made it a lot easier for the over 30 (maybe 40) crowd to tolerate the Shamrock Shuttle by working with the Mayfair Townwatch and the 15th District and, yes, the tavern owners to make sure that there was adequate police presence, portapotties and residents on hand to assist our out of town visitors that make Mayfair, whether we like it or not, a regional destination.
So, with that, let me be the first to say, that I am proud of our neighborhood and you should be too. Let's start 2013 off on the positive foot and work to better our community so that the next time someone asks you if you still live in Mayfair (and hangs on the word "still"), you can say, "yes", proudly.
Chairman, Mayfair Community Development Corporation
President, Mayfair Civic Association