Ryan Rosenbaum cares deeply about the community of Chestnut Hill and is working to improve the future of the neighborhood. He has held the position of executive director of the Chestnut Hill Community Association for 10 months now, and he said it is one of the joys of his career because he likes incorporating new ideas into the community in order to better it for the residents.
What is it exactly that you do for the community of Chestnut Hill?
My job is to basically improve the life of the residents. I do this by helping with development needs, which means dealing with zoning issues and variances. I also provide social programs for the residents, which is the fun part of my job. We organize different things to do around the neighborhood to bring the residents together. Chestnut Hill has a membership organization that mostly all of our residents are a part of. Our members receive newspapers and discounts to the local stores, and I try to add different things into our organization and help make it better.
What kind of vibe do you strive for Chestnut Hill to have?
Our residents are very proud of the character of our neighborhood. Chestnut Hill is known as the “garden district.” Many of our residents are very in tune with the environment and are artistic and historically minded. We like our town to feel orderly, so in order to do that we set architectural guidelines for new businesses and houses. We like to think that Chestnut Hill gives off the feeling of living in the suburbs even though we are still in the city.
What are some short-term goals you have for Chestnut Hill?
There are three things that I am currently working on now and one of those is rebuilding the Chestnut Hill website for the community. The website will create a path for the residents and non-residents of Chestnut Hill to find out what is going on. I am working on creating new membership boxes. Membership boxes are boxes filled with small gifts from the local stores that are dropped off at people’s houses who are new residents to the neighborhood. Lastly, I am working on elevating the membership level. I want there to be different levels to our membership organization and this will start January of 2017.
What are some long-term goals you have for the community of Chestnut Hill?
My main long-term goal is to help get Chestnut Hill on the map. It is a little town that many people do not know about, so in order to get it on the map I want to up the ante in concert series because the more people that come out to see the concerts, the more that people will get to know about Chestnut Hill, which is our goal.
What are some upcoming events you are currently working on?
Since the holidays are coming up, we have a lot of events that are coming up pretty fast. The next big event is our Black and White Gala. We rent a huge tent and just have a party while raising money for the community. As the holidays get closer, we have our Circle of Trees event, Holiday House Tour and our holiday parade. Many of these events are free, so we do get a lot of the residents to come out, as well as people who do not live in Chestnut Hill.
Are there any new future events you are working on?
We started a new fundraising event that raises money for local nonprofit organizations. Last year we had a comedy event, but that did not go over too well with the residents; they are not too big into comedy. This year we are thinking about doing a cabaret theatrical show. We want to do something different but at the same time try to do something that is appealing to the residents.
– Text and images by Marie Sechuk and Delia Franchi