by Laura Lucas

As the new Vice President of Operations for the Community Association this term, I’d like to extend my thank you to all of our current members and tell you about additional ways that you can get involved this year. Additionally, if you’re not a member, I’d like to tell you what you are missing.


Current members get our award-winning weekly newspaper, the Chestnut Hill Local, and discounted tickets or free access to our amazing events.

In terms of favorite events, we’re in the midst of the Pastorius Park Free Concert season. At these concerts $1-2 suggested donations and snack purchases at the concession stand support your community. New this year is a discount on CHCA memberships for new members who sign up at the concerts.

Many more events will follow. The Black & White Gala also returns this fall with new surprises, so mark your calendar for Oct. 10. Following that will be the Holiday House Tour, the Circle of Trees (think tree lighting to mark the holidays) and the recently revived Holiday Parade on Germantown Avenue complete with Santa. Plus, we can’t forget Hoops March Madness in the spring.

We are also looking to introduce some new events like a 5K run, a golf fund-raiser, small new-resident welcome parties, members-only parties and special tours too cool to mention (lest we create chaos of folks knocking down our doors before we can get them planned).

One common misconception is that you need to be a board member to plan these events. Not true. Anyone can help. There is a calendar on page 3 of the paper with dates and times of most meetings, so anyone can attend and be part of the fun.

Benefits, rewards and services

In addition to the benefit and rewards of just having good, old, plain fun and meeting your neighbors, there’s a growing list of great discounts from businesses up and down the Avenue, which practically pays for your membership many times over.

I was reminded of the noble service that the expert volunteers in CHCA’s Physical Division provide at our June board meeting. We had a full house at the library on the topic of preserving a 104-year-old house on Moreland Avenue. Neighbors had given up with past interactions with the City of Philadelphia. That we have a group of volunteers – from architects, designers, real estate lawyers and preservationists – available to review these situations is an amazing resource to the community.

The matter of enforcement of a city code versus public pressure on a developer to do right by the area is tricky, but, in this case, the CHCA board voted to support the Historical Society’s efforts to save the house. There’s an online petition if you want to lend your support.

In what other city do you find groups so passionate and dedicated to preserving historic buildings and willing to fight against efforts to increase property density? Our Community Manager Celeste Hardester and VP of Physical Division Larry McEwen are great resources for the community and especially CHCA members.

Our goal this term is to add 1,000 new members and see more folks at our events and joining our committees. It’s all about having fun. We hope you will join us.