by Brendan Sample

With a number of major events coming up in the near future, especially during the next month, the Chestnut Hill Community Association board members kept the focus on further planning for events such as Hoops Madness and the Philadelphia District Attorney debate at their Feb. 23 meeting.

Though Bob Rossman, vice president of the CHCA’s Physical Division, acknowledged that there had not been many zoning variances filed lately, he did express the board’s view that they expected to approve the variance for the trash compactor in Parking Lot 2.

He also reported on the current construction taking place at the Engine 37 fire station, and, while not much progress has been made over the past month, plans to add space to the firehouse are still in place. Cecil Baker + Partners, the architectural firm running the construction, will provide its own update during the next LUPZ meeting on March 2. The board remains generally optimistic that the firm will make concrete progress on the project soon.

Hoops Madness is set for its fifth year in a row, as it will happen on March 25 at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Former CHCA president Brien Tilley will once again be coordinating the popular event for both kids and adults of all ages. The board acknowledged that a number of sponsors have already been confirmed, such as Merrill Lynch, Chestnut Hill Hospital, Cosimo’s Pizza and Elfant Wissahickon, among others. The board also encouraged its own members to participate in the games as well as contributing financially.

Between the large crowd expected to max out at 440 people and extensive media coverage, the Philadelphia District Attorney debate on March 25 is likely to be a major attention-getter for the community. Board members spoke on some of their plans to bring in the Chestnut Hill Local’s top advertisers to help sponsor the debate, but nothing is set on that front as of this writing. They also mentioned that the debate is expected to pull in a young audience as well.

The board also took time to go over the results of a budget priority survey it conducted anonymously among members. The survey showed that, on average, the board prioritized the Annual Fund Drive as the most important program to be funded, with Pastorius Park concerts, the Holiday House Tour and the Development Review Committee also placing at the top.

These results will help the board prioritize funding going forward, though it also acknowledged that getting people to actually come out and support these programs and events is just as important as actually getting financial support.

One of the last aspects discussed before the meeting ended was the Chestnut Hill Business Association’s plans to set up fundraising events for parks in the area. While nothing is currently set in stone, the CHBA is working on setting up a fundraiser before a Pastorius Park concert during the summer that will encourage concert goers to arrive early and support local vendors. The CHBA is hoping that this will end up being a possible template for future events, though plans for the first one will have to be finalized before it will be able to plan that far in advance.

The CHCA board meets on the fourth Thursday of every month. The meetings are open to the public, so residents are welcome to attend and take part in the discussion.

Brendan Sample can be reached at


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