Borough Newsletter – Fall 2011
By Jayne Young
Among other interesting subjects, this newsletter features articles about property maintenance and the environment. These are two topics of particular importance in Lansdowne due to the age of our housing stock and municipal infrastructure.
When the Codes Director asked to submit an article about vacant houses I was concerned that Lansdowne would be painted with the blighted brush. After reading what he wrote I believe he is communicating the bigger issue of community involvement.
Lansdowne residents are super volunteers. It makes us a stronger more vital community to have residents engaged in everything from the Farmer’s Market to the Planning Commission. But there is another, just as vital, volunteer role and that is, as our Code Director put it, a neighborhood steward.
I’m confident that the residents of this borough want a welcoming, healthy, vital place to live. We want clean streams and maintained sidewalks. We certainly want the houses next door to be lived in by responsible neighbors. The “Quality of Life Issues” improve our daily lives.
Read the articles about storm water and property maintenance, everyone else is. Take the weeds out of the curb and sweep the sidewalk. Then take a walk around town and enjoy the fall and the fruits of our collective, community labor
Your partners in Lansdowne Animal Advocacy
Animal Friends of Lansdowne advocates for the rights of animals and education to ensure the wellbeing of our furry (and sometimes feathered) friends. Currently, AFL has an unprecedented number of pets (cats and kittens) in foster. We have an urgent need to find these kitties loving, permanent homes. If you or your friends or relatives are looking to adopt, please think of AFL first. Our committed foster families provide our pets with plenty of TLC to prepare them for adoption. In addition, AFL provides the necessary vet care before adoption, including spay/neuter. Adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment and never to be taken on impulsively.
Lansdowne is only one square mile but the feral (wild) cat population yields litters of kittens each year. Sadly, it’s impossible to take care of them all. On July 27th this year alone, we received three calls regarding three separate litters found by residents. We brought the feral kittens in to care for and socialize them (we are still struggling to find enough foster homes) so they can be adopted, but they need to start interacting with people between age four to eight weeks. Feral adults usually can’t be socialized, so the best we can do is spay/neuter them and return them (TNR) to their outdoor environment to break the procreation cycle.
TNR (trap, neuter, return) is a proven program for controlling feral populations over time. Amazingly, over a period of seven years, one female cat and her offspring can result in 420,000 cats if they are not neutered! AFL will work with interested residents to humanely trap cats. For more information on how TNR works visit www.alleycat.org. We utilize The Spayed Club in Sharon Hill (www.thespayedclubclinic.org), which often holds low-cost Sunday clinics for ferals. AFL can’t do this alone – we need the support and assistance of residents to make our TNR efforts effective. Recently, some concerned residents reached out to us regarding a colony and with their assistance AFL was able to safely trap the cats. The majority of the colony has been spay/neutered and we’re working on the remaining clever trap-savy critters.
We need and appreciate this cooperation from the community. The job is too big for our board alone. So please remember AFL when you hear of someone who wants to adopt, and keep in mind that we can always use help. Check out our adorable adoptables at www.animalfriendsoflansdowne.org/adopt. We also have a donation box at Borough Hall for unopened pet food and cat litter. Tax-deductible monetary donations, which help offset vet care and are greatly appreciated, can be sent to: Animal Friends of Lansdowne, PO Box 869, Lansdowne, PA 19050.
Pictured is Baby, the adorable cat available for adoption.
Lansdowne Residents “Get Involved”
By Sharon P. Coleman
“I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.”
– Albert Schweitzer
What sets Lansdowne residents apart from those who live in other communities? Their capacity to serve…
Yes, volunteerism is the fabric of Lansdowne. It is one of the treasures of this community. In addition to improving the lives of others, being rewarding and building strong relationships in a community, volunteering has health benefits as well. Research has shown that people who do volunteer work are much less likely to suffer illness. The close interpersonal relationships and community involvement that occur with volunteer service are tailor-made to enhance the healing process.
So why this article? I wanted to share with you all of the opportunities available to get involved and be part of this thriving community. Did you know that the Borough has 14 boards/commissions whose members are appointed by Borough Council to help carry out the vision and policies of the Borough?
These Boards include:
Arts Board – Supports the Borough’s mission of becoming an Arts’ destination by recommending events and uses of some of Lansdowne’s buildings.
Board of Health – is responsible for looking out for the wellbeing of our residents through inspecting and monitoring the cleanliness and sanitation of our local food establishments.
Civil Service Commission – This 3 person board has oversight responsibilities for administering testing for new hires and promotions within the Lansdowne Police Department.
Codes Appeals Board – This 3 person board is responsible for hearing and ruling on appeals that are brought forth by residents who have been cited for code violations or who request a variance from a building code requirement.
Darby Creek Joint Authority – One individual represents Lansdowne on the multi-municipal Authority that manages a sewage conveyance system.
Historical Architectural Review Board – This board makes recommendations to Council on façade treatments for buildings in our downtown historic district.
Human Relations Commission – Established to ensure that persons who live and work in Lansdowne are protected from unlawful discrimination.
Library Board – Responsible for determining policy, providing fiscal and physical oversight, and long range planning in order to provide the best possible library service to the Lansdowne community.
Multi-unit Conversion Committee – This committee, comprised of residents from our Elm Street area in Southeast Lansdowne, oversees grant applications for funding that will assist with converting multi units dwellings back to or closer to single family homes.
Parks and Recreation Board – This board oversees the management of all outdoor recreation areas and facilities owned or operated by the Borough of Lansdowne subject to the approval of Borough Council.
Planning Commission – This 7 person board assists the Borough by reviewing developers plans as well as changes to our various ordinances that govern development activities.
Tree Advisory Board – The specialist for our most notable signature, our trees. They advise residents on tree care and they sponsor the borough’s tree planting events.
Vacancy Board – This 1 person board is responsible for making appointments to our elected offices in the event of a vacancy that has not been filled within 30 days.
Zoning Hearing Board – This 5 person board hears and rules on requests for variances from the Lansdowne Zoning Ordinance.
So, what are you waiting for? Several of these boards have openings. Let us know what you are interested via our web site lansdowneborough.com/volunteer. If the opportunities above don’t get you excited, here are some more ways to get involved.
The Elm Street program which is collaboration between the Lansdowne Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), and the Boroughs of Lansdowne and Yeadon, continue to look for residents to sit on their committees.
The Lansdowne-Yeadon Elm Street Program’s goal is to achieve the vision articulated in the Lansdowne-Yeadon Elm Street Plan: To create an attractive neighborhood with multiple housing options that will attract a diverse population as well as utilize the power of arts and culture in community-building and economic prosperity.
If you would like to learn more about the Elm Street Program, visit their web site. lansdowneyeadon.org
The Southeastern Pennsylvania First Suburbs Project is a regional coalition of community leaders from developed suburbs that have joined together to harness their communities’ power by directly engaging citizens to affect policies and practices that will lead to the stabilization and revitalization of their communities. sepafsp.org
As you can see, there are many ways for you to make a difference. Come join us.
Keep Lansdowne Strong Know Your
Rights and Responsibilities
When my husband and I decided to move to Lansdowne over 25 years ago, we chose Lansdowne because of its wonderful housing and its proximity to public transportation.
Now, as home and apartment owners, we stay in Lansdowne and sing its praises because of yes, its great location, a classic small town right outside the city, but even more so because of the lively Farmers’ Market, the chance to see movies right here in town, the folk club, the restaurants, the always busy library, the arts festivals and classes, and, to a great extent, Lansdowne’s community spirit.
Many groups work actively to promote quality of life issues in the Borough. Go to the Borough web site, www.lansdowneborough.com to read about them and get involved. I guarantee you’ll meet wonderful people and benefit yourself and the community.
One volunteer group working to keep Lansdowne a neighborly and welcoming community is the Lansdowne Human Relations Commission (LHRC). Established by Borough Council in 2006 to “ensure that persons living and working in Lansdowne are protected from unlawful discrimination”, the Commission is nonpartisan and non-profit. Its five members are appointed by Borough Council, and there is no charge for its services.
The LHRC works in a variety of ways to inform the citizenry and those who own businesses in the Borough of their rights and responsibilities. It is empowered to receive and investigate complaints of discrimination within the Borough, to determine whether discrimination has occurred, and, if so, to offer mediation services or other remedies available under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. It can also guide and support individuals who wish to file complaints through the Regional Office of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
Do You Know Your Rights?
Discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, familial status, age, veteran status, mental or physical disability, pregnancy, use of guide or support animals and/or aids for those with blindness, deafness or other physical disability is prohibited in Lansdowne. Acts of discrimination in response or retaliation to complaints being filed are also prohibited.
To learn more about the law and Lansdowne’s HRC’s jurisdiction or to arrange for a member of the Commission to speak to your organization or faith community, go to our web site: www.lansdowneborough.com/hrc. We’d love to hear from you. And yes, a quarter of a century later, my husband and I think moving to Lansdowne was one of the best decisions we ever made.
Joan Reivich, Chair
By Chair Donald Verlenden
2011 has been shaping up into being one of the busiest years for No Place for Hate. There has been a steady stream of events almost every month in which the public is invited to attend or participate.
When I meet a Lansdowne resident for the first time, and they ask me what the NPFH program is all about, I naturally recite the litany of our events. We march in the town parades. We set up a table at public forums like National Night Out and the Community Days at the Farmers Market. We maintain the NPFH web site and make sure that the NPFH street signs are intact and free from vandalism. My personal favorite is the near monthly free film festival held at the Lansdowne Public Library. Thought provoking films are shown not just for their theatrical value, but to provide the framework for serious discussion about the nature of Hate, and how we can overcome it.
These events are all good things. And because of them, the Borough was recertified for 2009 and 2010 as an official No Place for Hate Community. It isn’t enough to make a one time Proclamation. Each year we must earn our stripes anew.
However, these inquiries got me thinking about what No Place for Hate in Lansdowne is really all about. In essence, I think it comes down to the daily interactions of individual people going about their lives and treating their fellow man and woman with respect and dignity. Treating them the way that they themselves wish to be treated.
Lansdowne doesn’t have a license on this kind behavior. We are, though, one of the few communities who has made that public proclamation denouncing prejudice, discrimination, and bigotry, in short, Hate, in all it’s forms. And that’s something we can all be proud of.
Polling Locations in Lansdowne
Don’t forget to Vote on November 8th
Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Ave.
Lansdowne Fire Company, SW Corner of Highland & LaCrosse Aves.
Simspon Gardens, Corner of Lansdowne and W. Stewart
Simspon Gardens, Corner of Lansdowne and W. Stewart
First Presbyterian Church of Lansdowne, Lansdowne Ave. and West Greenwood Ave.
First Presbyterian Church of Lansdowne, Lansdowne Ave. and West Greenwood Ave.
Penn Wood High School, Essex Avenue Entrance
Penn Wood High School, Essex Avenue Entrance
Pepper Pharmacy, East Plumstead Ave. near Union Avenue
Library, on Nyack
Don’s Dance World, 205 Shadeland Avenue
Lansdowne Folk Club presents
2011 Fall Concert Series:
September 22 – Burning Bridget Cleary & special guests Mary Reynolds and Louise Goldberg
October 27 – Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen & special guest Grandville Automatic
November 17 – Roy Bookbinder & special guest Phil Minissale
December 1 – David Jacobs- Strain and Bob Beach & special guests Erik Balkey and Annie Donahue
Held at the Twentieth Century Club, 84 S. Lansdowne Avenue, Lansdowne, PA. Doors open at 6:30 PM, event begins at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at door. For reservations or for more information call 610- 622-7250, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PEACH Cooking Class
The Lansdowne Baptist Church and The Food Trust will present FREE classes on how to shop for and cook healthy meals on a budget. PEACH – People Eating and Cooking Healthy, focuses on cooking healthy, local food that is both delicious and affordable.
Course includes trips to local farmers’ markets and grocery stores plus participants will receive food and small cooking equipment to take home throughout the six week series. Cooking demonstrations will show how to prepare an entire meal. Children are welcome!
When: Saturdays, 1:00 – 3:00 PM
October 8 – November 12th
Instructor: Jamese Kwele
Location: Lansdowne Baptist Church, 17 East La Crosse Ave.
Registration: 215.557.0444 Ext. 186 or JKwele@thefoodtrust.org
Funded by the PA Department of Public Welfare (DPW) through the PA Nutrition Education Tracks, as part of USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). To find out how SNAP can help you buy healthy foods, contact DPW’s toll-free Helpline at 800 -692-7462 or 215-430-0556. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”
Free * Electronic Waste Recycling
Saturday October 1
9 Am-1 pm
Bring your old computers, printers, peripherals, tvs, remote controls, game consoles, cables, audio equipment etc.
* $8 fee for console TVs
Aqua Pennsylvania will close Marshall Road between Lansdowne Avenue and Burmont Road in Lansdowne Borough and Upper Darby Township, beginning Monday, July 18 for water main installation, Marshall Road will be closed weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through December 30.
What Was Red, White & Blue All Over This Past July?
It was Lansdowne on the Fourth of July! Not only was there an abundance of flags, buntings and streamers, there was a parade, music, cotton candy and fireworks too.
The Union Athletic Association of Lansdowne, with the help of generous donations from businesses and residents, and the hard work of volunteers, once again, made Lansdowne the place to be on the Fourth of July.
If you would like to get involved with the UAA or make a donation to keep the parade and fireworks happening in our town, please contact George Patouhas 484-433-3895 or email him at email@example.com Please join our group on Facebook.
Complete minutes of Lansdowne Borough Meetings are available on lansdowneborough.com
2011 Leaf Collection Schedule
Route 1: 10/18, 11/1, 11/15, 11/29
Route 2: 10/21, 11/4, 11/18, 12/2
Route 3: 10/28, 11/11, 11/25, 12/9
Route 4: 10/24, 11/7, 11/21, 12/5
Route 5: 10/27, 11/10, 11/23, 12/8
Route 6: 10/20, 11/3, 11/17, 12/1
Route 7: 10/25, 11/9, 11/22, 12/6
Route 8: 10/17, 10/31, 11/14, 11/28
Lansdowne Borough Code Department is seeking your help!!
Neighborhood Stewardship is the first line of defense to help with preventing problems with vacant homes and the Code Department is seeking your assistance and asks that you become a Neighborhood Steward.
With the unprecedented number of foreclosed homes and homes for sale in Lansdowne, one way to prevent neighborhood deterioration is for citizens to work alongside property owners and the Borough. While the rate of foreclosed properties in Lansdowne has slowed somewhat, a slow housing market continues to create problems for community maintenance. The number one issue: vacant homes. Vacant homes are potential eyesores and hazards but problems can be prevented when neighbors watch and report.
Property maintenance issues the code department can address:
- High grass and weeks
- Open doors, broken windows
- Pools not drained and containing stagnant water
- Portions of the house exterior left exposed
- Significant exterior damage or other signs of neglect
Things to look for:
Un kept lawns and shrubbery, broken windows or open doors. These are signs that no one is taking care of this home. Broken windows need to be secured. Trying to locate the owner of a home that is being foreclosed is not easy. If the bank took ownership, then it’s the bank’s responsibility to secure their property. If the owner cannot be located because they just up and left, then the cost of securing the property falls on the Borough. High grass (10″ or more) = “Hello….I’m not home”. Sometimes there’s a For Sale sign on the lawn and you can call the realtor. They know that it is in their best interest to keep that ‘curb appeal’. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the head’s up.
You can help prevent problems and maintain our property values:
Prevention will require that citizens, property owners and Borough staff work together to maintain our neighborhoods. Citizens are asked to be stewards of their neighborhoods, to be the “Eyes and Ears” for the vacant homes. When conditions exist that effect the health, safety and welfare of community residents, notify the owner and/or the Borough. Call 610-623-7300 x 210 and speak to a Code Enforcement Officer about your concerns.
If the owner is a bank somewhere outside our area, or if a Realtor does not listen to your request that the grass be mowed, report the tall grass, once it reaches the height of 10 inches, to the Code Department, Property Maintenance at 610-623-7300 X 219 or use the online Action Form. A Code Enforcement Officer will be at the property within five days to initiate the case. This process can take a considerable amount of time if it is difficult to locate the owner. With foreclosure proceedings, the task is especially complex.
IF YOU SEE ANYTHING THAT ‘DOESN’T SEEM RIGHT’, OR A CRIME TAKING PLACE,
CALL THE LANSDOWNE POLICE AT 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY
WOW – War on Weeds
It’s difficult to stay motivated in the garden through the heat of summer. It’s tempting to slack off but the weeds are not taking a break. Weeds growing along the curbs and streets of Lansdowne give an unfavorable perception that residents lack the motivation to keep their community beautiful.
There are no magic cures for weeds. People have been searching for one for years. Take a bit of time now to get your weeds under control. It will help your home stay beautiful this year and beyond.
Beautification is an important part of the Lansdowne Boroughs agenda and tall grass and weeds can have a blighting effect on neighborhoods and create a nuisance due to unsightliness, and unhealthy or unsafe conditions.
Excess vegetation at the curb can also interfere with effective storm water drainage operations, increasing the chance of flooding due to blocked streets/curbs and by contributing to increases of sedimentation in both drainage facilities and water supplies.
Removing weeds is not the responsibility of Lansdowne Borough.
Residents are reminded that they are responsible for the weeds at their homes, for any area between the property line and the edge of the curb or street and to the centerline of any alleyway.
Do it today.
Removing weeds by hand is the most selective and environmentally friendly way to control weeds.
An electric or gas weed trimmer is also very effective but will need to be repeated during active growing seasons.
Regular house vinegar if sprayed on weeds 100% full strength in the hot sun will do the job without the use of herbicides.
Weeds growing curbside is like a smile with missing teeth, it’s not very attractive and very noticeable.
Be Proactive, Improve the Perception of Lansdowne, and Persevere in the war on weeds!