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FNA Beautification Committee Shows Spring Cleaning Is In Bloom, New Art Installation and Festival Coming in April

On March 19, members of the Fishtown Neighbors Association (FNA) and local residents gathered at Frankford Avenue and Girard Avenue in the heart of Fishtown to do some spring cleaning. According to the FNA website, 23 volunteers filled 30 bags of trash along Frankford Avenue and Front Street below Girard Avenue. The cleanup was organized by FNA’s Beautification Committee.

“We had a nice turnout,” said Mike Slusher, FNA Beautification Committee chair.

The committee is made up of volunteers who come out to clean up different parts of the neighborhood once a month. “Philadelphia, unfortunately, has quite a litter problem,” Slusher said. The FNA is combatting this issue by opening a dialogue with the community to find out where the problem areas are. Fishtown residents should contact the committee at beautification@fishtown.org to help them decide which streets need attention each month. “We encourage people to reach out and let us know,” Slusher said.

FNA Beautification Cleanup Kids

Many adults brought children with them, and the hope is that instilling civic pride in young people is an investment for the future./Ptah

Many adults at the cleanup brought children with them. Slusher believes instilling a sense of civic pride in the younger generation will benefit the world as the kids become adults. “We plan on doing some more work with kids in the schools in the neighborhood,” Slusher said. “We’re trying to teach them while they’re young so that maybe in 20 years, they don’t need to be out here every weekend doing this.”

In case you missed this cleanup, there are more in the works. Philadelphia is having a citywide cleanup day on April 9th and the FNA is putting together an organized cleanup for Fishtown. Volunteers should meet at the Fishtown Rec center between 9AM and 10AM. This year’s cleanup will focus on Front & Girard, Aramingo & Norris, Adaire Elementary and Hetzel Playground. According to Slusher, about 60 people volunteered last year and he hopes to have even more people this time.

Spirit News also attended the FNA Beautification Committee’s meeting on March 24. These meetings occur monthly at the Fishtown Rec center and are open to the public. This month’s topics included, the Fishtown Chili Cook Off at The Fillmore on April 17 and the growing requests for more decorative fish head trash cans around the neighborhood. According  Slusher, he’s received about 30 such requests.

FNA Beautification Committee Meeting

Residents gathered at the Fishtown Rec Center to discuss ways to enhance the beauty of Fishtown, and an upcoming art installation at Transport Cycles./Ptah Gabrie

Also discussed was an upcoming art installation and festival taking place at Transport Cycles at 1105 Frankford Ave. on April 30 from 6-10PM. The event is titled “Climate Disrupted” and will feature climate change themed art, music and poetry. The event is put together by Philly artists and climate change activists Joey Hartmann-Dow and Leslie Birch. Artists are encouraged to submit their ideas at www.phillyclimatestory.com before April 10. Hartmann-Dow is active in lobbying for climate change awareness and wanted to do something different to get the attention of politicians in PA.

According to Hartmann-Dow, she’s reached out to U.S. Senator Pat Toomey for guidance and assistance on addressing climate change in Pennsylvania. She says, she’s had little success.

“His office has been hard to work with because climate change is something that they say they haven’t heard from a lot of Pennsylvanians about,” Hartmann-Dow said. “I was shocked and I said I want to come up with a thing that is really going to show — and in a way you can’t deny — that people are concerned about climate change and they’re going out of their way to show it.”

Neither lives in Fishtown, but according to Hartmann-Dow and Birch they’ve heard Fishtown is a neighborhood conscious of it’s own sustainability. Birch was impressed with the decorative fish head trash cans and believes they are more than just a piece of art ready to receive your trash.

“The artistic look of trash cans has made people aware that trash cans are a positive thing,” Birch said. Her exhibit at “Climate Disrupted” will be titled “Hacked Corn” and according to her, it will feature lighting that is reactive to the weather.

Birch is excited about the changes Fishtown is undergoing and believes the neighborhood will be a perfect place for this event. “The people here have a heightened interest in taking care of their neighborhood because they’ve seen what it used to look like,” Birch said. “It’s become a very welcoming place.”

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