of the Melrose Park Neighbors Association
The Melrose Park Improvement Association was
dormant for many years. Around 1990, Andrew Rudin saw it listed in a
publication from Nancy Gibson, the Information Officer within Cheltenham
Township’s administration building.
Around this time, Howard Sitron, who used to
live on Chestnut Avenue, wanted to organize neighbors around the issue of
our polluted stream, called Mill Run, which flows along Coventry Avenue and
New Second Street. Andy Rudin helped Howard organize a meeting at Howard’s
home. Most of the effort was in cleaning stuff out of the stream around
each Earth Day.
Then, when State Representative Lawrence Curry
was campaigning door to door, Andy confronted him with the problem with
stream pollution. Larry told Andy that another neighbor, Albert Fried-Cassorla,
was also interested in the stream pollution and had organized a meeting
about it at his home. Andy attended the meeting.
Shortly after this, Albert and Andy formed the
current Melrose Park Neighbors Association, changing its name because
‘improvement’ hinted that our neighborhood was faulty. Albert became
president for several years. Around 2002, Michael Schectman created bylaws
for MPNA and filed with the IRS for the organization to become a 501.c3
MPNA held meetings at the Elkins Park Free
Library and at the home of Patrice and Tom Steigerwald. Issues that became
important to neighbors included crime, speeding traffic, stream pollution
and a new SEPTA train station for Melrose Park. For each issue, neighbors
heard presentations from SEPTA officials, Cheltenham police, the Department
of Environmental Protection, the Philadelphia Water Department, and others.
As a result of this organizing, the
Philadelphia Water Department has spent more than a million dollars cleaning
up the pollution of Mill Run and rebuilding the outfall, the first place
that the water in Mill Run sees daylight at the corner of Coventry and
Another result was that members of MPNA –
Gretta Gilles, Bill Donnelly, Gwen Koths and others – gave a lot of input to
SEPTA about the design of the new station. One estimate is that the station
cost $2.6 million to build.
Another result was the evolution of the Melrose
Park Town Watch into an email alert system in which the Cheltenham Police
notify MPNA of crime activity. MPNA then sends an alert to its email
members and associates.
In 2004, Albert resigned as president, and Andy
Rudin took over. He created a new, independent website, developed a list of
email addresses, and produced dozens of newsletters, all of which are
available on the website
www.melroseparkneighbors.org. Our website is currently maintained by Jesse Larocque in St. Johnsbury, Vermont.
The current members of the MPNA Board are Caryl Levin (president), Michael Shectman (treasurer), Jim Muldoon (membership), Andrew Rudin (newsletter editor), Cindy Blackwood, Ricki Lent, Debbie Posmontier, Phil Kates, and Albert Fried-Cassorla.
If you are interested in
joining or helping out with MPNA, please email Andy Rudin at