Nine years ago, Michael Hayward knew that the neighborhood around his home at 12th and Wingohocking streets was facing tough times. The “sinking homes” disaster had caused many responsible homeowners to move out of the area, and the strength of the existing Logan community organization had diminished considerably.
So Hayward and a neighbor–Sonya Bryant–decided that they would to do something to combat the apathy that existed in their community.
“We tried to figure out a way to bring the people together as a community,” Hayward said. “So we decided to put on a festival.”
The festival, which they held on Wyoming Avenue, was successful. Soon there were elected officials and people in their community asking Hayward and Bryant to make it an annual event. It was then that they realized, in Hayward’s words, that it was time to “take the baton and move on with it.”
Since Hayward and Bryant were both block captains and stakeholders in the community, forming an association came easy to them.
“The only problem was that we didn’t know what to name the organization,” Hayward explained. “Then a young lady on Wyoming Avenue said ‘We love Logan, so let’s name it Let’s Love Logan.’”
The name stuck, the hard work continued and on September 12 the Let’s Love Logan Community Association (LLLCA) will be holding its ninth Annual Community Festival in Wingohocking Park.
Hayward, who is the current chairperson of the organization, finds the location ideal because of the children’s play area and the ample room for folks to relax and make a day of the event. While this year’s event is close to home for the 56-year-old retired carpenter, the group likes to move the event to different spots every year.
“We move the festival around to see if we can bring in more of the community people from the whole area [of Logan] at large,” Hayward said.
Today, the organization serves approximately 7,000 families in Logan’s east side, an area that covers from Somerville on the north to Hunting Park on the south and from Broad Street on the west to part of Fifth Street on the east.
One the chief concerns is keeping neighborhoods clean. Some past beautification efforts include projects with the Philadelphia Mural Arts program, as well as block clean-ups. Litter is a significant problem in Logan, and while many areas still have issues with trash there are some locations–such as the old, Chinese wholesale warehouse at Old York Road and Ruscomb Street–where large amounts of trash have been removed.
The benefits of keeping a block clean are more than just aesthetic because beautification can also help deter criminal behavior.
“If people see that you care about your community, they are less likely to come into the area to do the negative things,” said Hayward.
Hayward says the group has good rapport with the 35th Police District. As a member of the Police District Assistance Committee (PDAC) he stresses the importance of open lines of communication between the police and the community. More important, Hayward believes that it is the residents, and not the police, who play the most important part in fighting crime.
“No one knows the neighborhood better than the people who live there. So I tell people: if you see drug activity in a house, let us know,” he said. “Not only will that keep the police on point, but it will also let those people know that the neighborhood will not take that kind of behavior.”
Charlene Samuels is a board member with the LLLCA, and she volunteers with other community organizations as well. She echoes Hayward’s sentiment about an involved community, and she believes that choosing to not be involved contributes to a deterioration of the quality of life in Logan.
“I could have the attitude where I don’t have to bother, because my kids are doing fine. But it’s about the community, because we must live among one another,” she said. “It is my duty to be involved in trying to make things better. Because what the bad people are doing is going to affect us. So how can I sit back and do nothing? It’s not going to work.”