Mayfair Civic Association hears from Mural Arts, school district

The first of three murals planned for Mayfair will be painted at Cottman and Frankford. Meanwhile, discussion continues on future Ryan Avenue school.

Art of Mayfair: Marc Collazzo (pictured), executive director of the Mayfair Business Improvement District, recently took David Guinn on a tour of the neighborhood to get a feel for the area. Guinn will soon design and paint a mural at Cottman and Frankford avenues. TIMES FILE PHOTO

Mayfair’s central intersection, Cottman and Frankford avenues, will be the site of the first in a series of three murals that will be installed in the near future.

Maria Moller, project manager for Mural Arts Philadelphia, told residents gathered at the Mayfair Civic Association’s Sept. 17 meeting that the mural will have “elements of Mayfair past and present” and abstract work that captures the neighborhood’s spirit.

The mural will be painted on the Hertz building that sits on the southeast corner of the intersection. It will take up the wall of the property facing Cottman Avenue.

Two other murals are planned for nearby — one at the Veterans Multi-Service Center Thrift Shop, 7126 Frankford Ave., and another for the ShopRite at Frankford and Knorr. The trio has prompted officials to begin referring to the area as the “Mayfair Mural Mile.”

The project at Cottman and Frankford will be first on the docket. Moller said South Philadelphia native David Guinn will design and paint the mural. He has painted dozens of murals in the city and around the world, according to a Mural Arts biography.

“His work is really beautiful, a lot of it can be sort of abstract,” Moller said.

Marc Collazzo, executive director of the Mayfair Business Improvement District, recently took Guinn on a tour of the neighborhood, and specifically Frankford Avenue, to get a feel for the area.

“We wanted him to meet people from Mayfair to talk about what’s great about it (and) what they want to see coming,” he said.

Moller told the civic association that Mural Arts will hold a community meeting sometime in October to present Guinn’s design and get feedback from residents. Painting is scheduled for November, and the organization hopes to complete the mural by the end of the year.

Civic association president Donny Smith expressed some concern during the meeting about the timeline for the mural.

“It seems like a real short timeline,” he said. “It doesn’t have a whole lot of time for input.”

Collazzo assured the civic association that nothing will be rushed before everybody is on board.

Few details have been hashed out regarding the other two murals. The mural at the thrift shop will have a veterans theme, Collazzo said.

“Each one will be a different artist, and each one will have a really different flavor and style to it,” Moller said.

The civic association also heard from School District of Philadelphia representatives about the new school planned for Ryan Avenue. However, officials still did not have any answers regarding the exact location of the school, which is perhaps the biggest concern for residents.

Haniyyah Sharpe-Brown, the district’s director of advocacy and external engagement, said the district sent out a request for proposal, or RFP, Sept. 12 for preliminary designs for the new school. Architects will have about six weeks to respond with plans, she said.

“We have not yet made a decision on where the school is going to go, and we can’t make that decision until we see the mock-up,” Sharpe-Brown said.

The school will serve about 1,660 K-8 students. It’s being built to handle overcrowding at nearby schools and will affect the catchment boundaries for Brown, Forrest, Mayfair, Pollock and Holme schools.

Austin Meehan Middle School will be torn down as part of the plan.

Sharpe-Brown said Brown, Pollock and Holme will become K-8 schools. Forrest will become K-5, and students will transition to a new school at grade 6. Mayfair will remain K-8.

Several residents at the meeting raised concerns about how the current schools, which are already overcrowded, will be able to cope with the changes. Richard Rhodes, the district’s regional superintendent, said officials are considering adding modular additions, described as schoolhouses, to several of the existing buildings.

“Our area is projected to continue to grow,” Rhodes said. “We have to take that into consideration.”

The discussion at the civic association meeting followed several recent information sessions with parents and residents about the new school.

In other news from the civic association:

  • The deadline to enter the Mayfair Halloween Decoration Contest is midnight Oct. 14. Residents are encouraged to nominate homes and businesses on the civic association’s Facebook page or via email at MayfairCivicAssociation@yahoo.com Prizes donated by the Mayfair Business Association will be awarded Oct. 24 to the three best-decorated homes and businesses.
  • The Mayfair Holmesburg Thanksgiving Parade will be held Sunday, Nov. 18, starting at noon. Smith said the Philadelphia Police Explorer Cadets will serve as the event’s grand marshals.
  • Sixth District Councilman Bobby Henon will be hosting a career expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 17 at Franklin Towne Charter School. More than 50 businesses have registered for the event, according to Henon.
  • The civic association will hold a special zoning meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Mayfair Community Center, St. Vincent and Battersby Streets. Several matters are expected to be discussed, including residential issues at 3020 Wellington St., 3401 Princeton Ave. and 3239 Teesdale St. A commercial variance for the construction of a roof deck at the former Teamster building, 2825–35 Cottman Ave., is also expected to be on the agenda. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com