Mayfair BID looking ahead to a big 2019

SOURCE: GOOGLE MAPS

The Mayfair Business Improvement District recently held its annual stakeholders meeting, taking a look back at the last year, a look ahead and electing two members of the board of directors.

Board secretary Sharon Owens (State Farm) and Michael Zallie (ShopRite) were seeking another term, and were joined on the ballot by David Restituto (Factory Donuts); Mark McCafferty (McCafferty Funeral Home), Kate Rauchut (Rauchut’s Tavern), Patrick Kelly (Stein Your Florist) and Steven Zheng (Ice Moon, Voix).

Kelly and Zheng were elected and will begin serving at the next Mayfair BID board meeting on Feb. 6.

Meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month, and board chairman Mike “Scoats” Scotese would like to see the room filled with BID members.

“The more, the merrier,” he said.

Executive director Marc Collazzo spoke of the BID’s successes, including small, exterior security cameras at six intersections along Frankford Avenue. The cameras can capture images 1,000 feet away. They have led to the arrests of an armed robber at Little Caesars and a hit-and-run driver. The goal is to have a camera at every intersection.

The avenue is also home to a bicycle police officer in the afternoon and a Ready, Willing & Able cleanup crew three mornings a week.

Collazzo, who came on board in October 2017, thanked Mayfair Civic Association president Donny Smith and hair salon owner Lisa Greco for organizing the annual Mayfair-Holmesburg Thanksgiving Parade and the Mayfair May Fair.

Collazzo has initiated several one-time events and others he hopes become traditions. They include an arts festival, Eagles pre-game parties, a Thriller walk and an internship program between merchants and Abraham Lincoln High School students.

He credited businessman Joe Maniaci for coming up with the idea for an NFL Draft watch party at Frankford and Cottman avenues and Art History 101 owner Jay Pross for pitching an outdoor fashion show.

Among those who have toured the BID territory are Harold Epps, director of the city Department of Commerce, and Joe DeFelice, a Northeast resident and administrator of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mid-Atlantic Region.

Soon, the BID will be part of a new theater company that will seat up to 100 on the 6200 block of Frankford Ave. Activities will include plays, shows, concerts, movies, poetry, open mic nights, art galleries and yoga.

The theater will open on March 15 with the first of nine performances of the play Almost, Maine. It will also be home to a monthly broadcast of a podcast hosted by, among others, former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook.

“We’ve got a solid year of programming,” said John Cambridge, the theater’s artistic director and CEO of the Philadelphia Insectarium and Butterfly Pavilion, adding that he is working to bring St. Hubert High School shows to the new space.

Also planned is a Mayfair Grand Prix for June 1. NASCAR drivers are expected to attend, in partnership with the Urban Youth Racing School, as Pocono Raceway will host a race the next day. A route through Mayfair has not been set.

Dunphy Ford, which is located just outside the BID boundaries, has been approved for membership.

Kelly, the new board member, is delighted with the BID’s progress.

“It’s wonderful to see,” he said.

Collazzo sees good things continuing to happen.

“This year, we now have a chance to focus on the two ‘S’s,’ shops and shoppers,” he said. “We want to make it a walkable avenue.” ••