Just an average Saturday for most of us in EPX; sleeping late, running to Black and Brew for java, shopping, walking the dog etc. Well let me tell you the Board of EPX was on the streets of the ‘hood doing our membership proud!

– Some board members were busy cleaning out the new proposed EPX office space.

– Some board members were busy cleaning up our new eastern boundary of 8th street from Tasker to Snyder.

– Some board members were busy staffing the EPX table at the EPA BID Flavors of the Avenue event.

Hats off to all our hard working volunteers, especially those leading by example!

Late last year, Christmas Eve day to be exact, EPX filed for a Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) grant with the help of Senator Vincent J. Fumo and his dedicated staff. Congratulations are now in order because EPX has received written confirmation, from the DCED, that our proposed funding will be granted. The actual contract and check have not arrived and may be up to 18 weeks in coming, BUT we are now assured that the hard work of our grant writers will come to fruition. The primary focus of the grant will most likely be the “greening” of Neumann- Goretti High School. However, review of the specific wording of the grant contract may allow for additional beautification projects. The grant will be administered by EPX Co-Chair and author Joseph F. Marino along with Treasurer Millie Ruffino.

The Board of EPX would like to express our appreciation for a generous donation from the Quickie Brand Company. Quickie has donated several corn brooms, straw brooms, and broom/scoop sets to support our regular “Clean and Green” clean-up days. EPX holds regularly scheduled neighborhood street sweeping events almost monthly, as we have since the fall of 2006, beginning again in 2008 on Saturday March 8th. EPX will clean Tasker street starting at 10:00 a.m. meeting on the corner of Broad and Tasker Streets.

Feel free to express your appreciation, as individual members, by browsing and shopping at Quickie’s web page hyper-linked below.

Welcome To Quickie.com

EPX was notified today that we have been named a recipient of a Beneficial Bank Community Service Grant. EPX will receive $500.00 towards our Town Watch activities, primarily to implement both “dog-walkers” and “cyclists” patrols. The funds will be used to market, recruit and insure members who are willing to participate in these regularly scheduled patrols. Details to follow. The Board of Directors of EPX are most grateful to one of our own Donna Russo Gallagher, Assistant Treasurer, at Beneficial Bank’s 2037 S. Broad Street Financial Center who expedited the grant and to all who participated in writing and submitting the grant application!

While most South Philadelphians are gearing up to watch or participate in the New Year’s Day Mummer’s parade, I thought I would take a moment and reflect on how EPX successfully spent our first full calendar year. In addition to the routine functions of our standing committees such as zoning & planning attending ZBA hearings and “clean & green” holding monthly street clean-ups or public safety’s regularly scheduled town-watch walks. Our committees and Board of Directors have accomplished herculean feats, some of which, are listed below.

Clean and Green saw 20 plus volunteers spend a weekend in September “re-greening” the Tolentine Community Center and in spring placed planters at the E. Passyunk BID gateway!

Public Safety won the local police precinct’s award for “Outstanding New Town Watch” of 2007!

Membership sponsored several summer meet and greets at area watering-holes and staffed an EPX info table at the St. Nick’s Italian Festival.

Community Relations [AKA Marketing and Events] with the full support of the Board hosted our extremely successful Spring Fair and a very profitable Avenue Art Auction in November.

Planning and Zoning sponsored our September Book-Swap with help from a Scholastic Books grant award.

The hardest working non-profit board in Philadelphia won a PAF grant, established EPX as a 501(c) (3) tax exempt organization, attended no less than 12 different city improvement forums including “Great Expectations” and “IMAGINE Philadelphia.” For detailed and additional information regarding our varied accomplishments see the archives of this very website.

Beyond our own borders EPX has worked to create the South Philadelphia Central Civics, a group of 8 local civics working quarterly to address common concerns on a larger scale. EPX has also been instrumental in working to establish the Friends of the Free Library chapter of the South Philly branch.

On the horizon for 2008 EPX office space, DCED grant approval, and heaven knows the limits. So keep your eyes glued to this site for breaking news. To all who helped and will continue to make EPX great, thank you and EXCELSIOR!

Sunday December 2nd will see hundreds of neighborhood activists throughout the city gathering at the close of the Great Expectations: Philadelphia the Next Great City study process. Over a year ago, The Philadelphia Inquirer and the University of Pennsylvania began asking citizens what the next mayor and city council should look like. In addition they wanted our thoughts about the hopes and fears, pluses and minuses of the city. EPX, along with dozens of other civic groups, has participated in this study and now the final agenda is set to be presented to Mayor-elect Micheal Nutter and others. Several crucial items are to be discussed including taxes, poverty, education, crime, the environment etc., BUT the one that most effects EPX, and perhaps South Philly as a hole, may be Neighborhoods in Flux. So here is that part of the agenda and note that members of our Board of Directors will participate in the creation of this final component of Great Expectations and in civic concerns beyond it.

For more info go to www.greatexpectations07.com.

Ideas from citizen forums

Council of neighborhoods:
Convene, with foundation help, a citywide coalition of civic group leaders. This would serve as a vehicle for these leaders to exchange tips, expertise, concerns and warnings – and to mobilize jointly to lobby city government about opportunities or threats. A particular focus would be on established groups from well-off neighborhoods sharing resources with groups in challenged neighborhoods.

Civic dialogue:
Convene forums where newcomers and long-time residents can discuss concerns in a non-crisis environment, and get solid information about taxes, policies and trends affecting their neighborhoods.

Fair competition:
Set up a fair, transparent system for civic groups to compete for federal, state and city grants and aid for community improvement. Don’t let politicians groove grants to favored groups without real competition. Have city staff help neighborhoods with limited resources or expertise write applications.