Residents of Northeast Philadelphia have had concerns with issues in their neighborhood such as crime for years. But for many residents, there were very few outlets they could approach to bring their concerns to light. So five years ago, Jared Solomon and a few other residents started Take Back Your Neighborhood to allow residents to come together to state their concerns and find ways to address them.
When the group first started, it consisted of only a few people. Now, with a leadership council in place, the group holds meetings every third Monday of the month which draws in a crowd of 30 to 35 people.
On Monday, the group came together to discuss a few initiatives and hear from some special guest speakers.
At the beginning of the meeting, Solomon addressed a recent initiative the group has spearheaded with the help of Councilman Bob Henon and Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez. Now the group is hoping to refurbish and revitalize an outdated Max Myers Playground, Solomon said.
“The playground looks like something out of the 1970s and is in dire need of a facelift. So we’re working with them to try and make that [the revitalization] happen,” Solomon said.
Throughout the meeting a theme of caring for others developed as time moved on.
Solomon also talked about a basketball league he helped start and now coaches at Max Myers Recreation Center in connection with Gilbert Spruance Elementary School across the street as a mentoring program. “So many people are telling these kids they won’t amount to anything. But it’s amazing to see their attitudes change when you actually work with them,” he said.
Later in the meeting Community Relations Officer for the 2nd Police District, Diann Murphy, addressed a few initiatives and events coming up in the next few weeks. On May 18, the 2nd District will be holding Community Day which Murphy said will be a fun event for all ages and a great way for residents to meet their neighbors.
Before she left, Murphy gave out her phone number and said whether it is crime related or not I want you to contact me. She said sometimes people need to know we care.
As she left she told the residents why she loves her job. “This job allows me to meet people and try and make a difference. And if I can’t help you directly, I will point you in a direction which might,” Murphy said.
Take Back Your Neighborhood will meet again May 20 at the Max Myers Recreation Center at 1601 Hellerman St.