Who’s supporting preservation?

In the Sept. 25 issue of the Local, you published an article and two letters, all closely related and all important: the excellent commentary by Miles Orvell, “Main Street,” and the letters in the Forum by Frank Niepold and Shirley Hanson.

The unnecessary destruction of the magnificent old home on Moreland Avenue could have been prevented. One of the creations of Lloyd Wells, not mentioned by Orvell, could have helped in that regard, specifically the Chestnut Hill Realty Trust (on which I served as a trustee).

The idea behind the Chestnut Hill Realty Trust was to have enough cash in the bank so that funds would be available immediately to allow the community itself to decide on how land was to be utilized and developed, rather than relying on so-called “developers.”

The idea worked very well for a while – one of its successful projects being 21 West Highland. The CHCA, or a group of civic-minded residents, may well want to revisit the idea of a realty trust. The earlier realty trust failed because of lack of community support. Very sad.

A similar useful addition would be a community association that truly cared about the residents. When the CHCA stopped paying attention to residents’ concerns, Ron Recko and Ann Spaeth started a Chestnut Hill Residents Association to support the well-being of the residents.

However, Chestnut Hill was and continues to be a group of isolated neighborhoods; the homeowners don’t seem to understand that failing to support the residents in an area seemingly remote from their home means that they will not have support when something threatens their own immediate neighborhood.

Recent decisions by the Chestnut Hill Community Association seem to indicate a change, with heightened sensitivity to the neighbors’ concerns. Let’s hope so.

What is certain is that Chestnut Hill will thrive or fail in direct proportion to the creativity, prudence and enthusiasm in which the neighbors support each other and the business community.

George L. Spaeth

Chestnut Hill

Looking for better park safety system

I was notified about the assault in Valley Green both by the FOW (Friends of the Wissahickon) and by a local neighborhood group. However, when I was walking this week on Forbidden Drive, I saw nothing there to let people know about the event. No signs, no posters, no mention by the police driving on Forbidden Drive.

I stopped four women joggers (who were alone, with ear buds in, at an off-peak time) to let them know about the assault so they could be cautious. However, how might we get better publicity about this, so everyone can be more cautious, and we can prevent another attack. I’ve notified the FOW and asked what they might do. Anyone else with other ideas?

Sarah Whitman

Chestnut Hill

Article captured John Paul’s spirit

Our entire family thanks you for capturing the spirit of my son John Paul in your story “Festival in memory of gardener killed in car accident” on Sept. 18. Every day is hard for all of us, and this birthday month and the Garlic Festival bring everything flooding back. When he was in his teens, he told me that he just wanted to do something important in his life. Thank you for telling his story of doing just that.

Judy Endicott and family