CCRA is a non-profit, volunteer-led civic association that was founded in 1947. We represent the residents of Center City West, from the west side of Broad Street to the Schuylkill River, and from south side of JFK Boulevard to north side of South Street. CCRA's origin purpose was to save Rittenhouse Square from being converted into an underground parking lot. In the 70 years that followed, our focus has greatly expanded. Among other things, we do the following:
As the registered RCO for our territory, we hold public zoning meetings allowing our residents to interact with and provide input to property owners and developers in connection with the zoning process.
CCRA serves as an important link between the residents and local, state, and federal government, advocating for good schools, clean streets, and neighborhood safety. We offer testimony on bills before City Council, and organize public forums with elected officials and representatives from government agencies.
CCRA raises funds to pay the Center City District to clean trash and debris from our sidewalks.
CCRA provides assistance to young families seeking to negotiate their way through the wide variety of the educational opportunities that are available. We hold programs such as school fairs (showcasing our 21 neighborhood schools); “School Daze,” a panel discussion on choosing the right elementary school for your child; and “Town Hall” meetings with Philadelphia School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite.
CCRA provides timely information about community events through our weekly e-newsletters and quarterly magazines sent to all of our members.
CCRA manages and supports garden plots at the Schuylkill River Park Community Garden. We offer plots to our members on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to learn more about the Schuylkill River Park Community Garden (SRPCG) and how to obtain a plot.
For information about CCRA's history, click here.
CCRA Board Of Directors, 2019-20
Executive Vice President:Donna Cordner
Vice Presidents:Philippa "Pip" Campbell, Barbara Halpern, Charles Robin, Robin Sweet
Assistant Secretary:Lauren O'Donnell
2019-20 Board Meeting Dates
Members are invited to attend our Board meetings. Here are the agendas and meeting summaries for current and previous meetings. Agendas will be posted a circulated a few days before the meeting; summaries added the following month after the Board approves them.
The meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of each month (except July and August and when there is a holiday). You must have an active membership in order to attend the meetings. If you would like to attend, please contact Travis Oliver at 215-546-6719 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jump to Committee:
Annual Meeting Committee
To plan and implement the year's final general membership meeting, which includes the presentation of awards for community service and historic preservation, and the opportunity to meet board candidates and vote for them.
Past guest speakers have included Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis, Alan Greenberg and District Attorney Seth Williams. At the meeting we provide a recap of the year’s accomplishments & plans for the coming year; present awards for community service and historic preservation; meet board candidates and vote on them; and of course, provide refreshments.
How you can participate
We are looking for enthusiastic people to make this an exciting and memorable event for all.
Center City Quarterly
To publish the Center City Quarterly, which showcases events, institutions, and places of interest across the city, with emphasis on those within the CCRA borders. The newsletter is intended for CCRA members, government officials, related not-for-profit organizations, media individuals, and prospective members.
How you can participate
We always welcome articles and/or ideas for articles that may be of interest to the diverse population living in our neighborhood. See recent editions of CCQ in PDF format here.
To ensure that the streets and sidewalks in CCRA’s district are clean by working with the Philadelphia Streets Department and by privately contracting with the Center City District for supplemental cleaning.
We successfully advocated for numerous additional public trash receptacles at specific locations; we received a commitment by the Streets Department to regularly empty the public trash receptacles; we have developed a good working relationship with Streets Department; and have renewed and monitored the sidewalk cleaning contract with Center City District (CCD). We have provided information to the membership and advocated for the introduction of bicycle lanes on Spruce and Pine Streets. We look forward to fostering the implementation of the city’s new recycling program by hosting a special forum about recycling and related topics. We continue to oversee the contract with CCD.
How you can participate
Contribute to our Sidewalk Cleaning Fund that pays for our contract with Center City District. To send us your tax-deductible contribution, click here.
We also welcome you to join our committee.
Make CCRA relevant to young families through targeted programming which addresses educational issues and social needs and develop a sense of community for young families.
Provide programming and information to address educational issues relevant to families with children in our community.
Foster and maintain relationships with neighboring community associations and elected and administration officials in order to promote quality educational opportunities for our children.
Strengthen CCRA’s partnerships with neighborhood schools.
Educational events: a panel discussion “How to pick an elementary school for your child”; a school fair; and a town hall meeting with the new Superintendent of Schools, Dr. William R. Hite, Jr. These programs also achieved our goals to work collaboratively with other neighborhood associations and strengthen our relationships with elected officials
Family Programs: Meet and Greet for Center City Families with Young Children
To assist the Executive Committee and Board in the creation of an organizational budget and its maintenance throughout the fiscal year and beyond, to ensure the fiscal integrity of CCRA. Track and actively manage the budget. Also, develop a multi-year budget tied to a long-range plan to ensure that there’s continuity between administrations.
To foster and maintain relationships with elected and administration officials, and with neighboring community associations in order to enhance and preserve a high quality of life for residents and businesses in the neighborhood; to promote government accountability, ethics, and transparency; to represent the interests of the membership with written responses and testimony at hearings in response to pending legislation.
We have hosted political events for candidates for office, scanned for ideas in other cities and neighborhoods to improve ours, connected with Common Cause, and expanded the Crosstown Coalition to include Fairmount.
How you can participate
We are looking for people who are interested in keeping up on current bills, who have an interest in crafting written responses to upcoming bills, and testify at City Hall hearings. You need not be able to do all of this, but be interested in working with others to develop responses. We are also looking for people to help organize events, respond to other issues as they arise, and work on the goals for the year.
To create a better understanding of historic preservation among the CCRA membership and our community, to encourage sound preservation practices among the building owners in our neighborhood, and to work with the Historic Commission of the City of Philadelphia to our mutual benefit.
We plan to work closely with the Preservation Alliance to co-host educational forums and workshops, provide valuable online resources for those interested in doing historic preservation work, including an FAQ section. Upcoming events may include custom walking tours and insider tours of works in progress. The committee will also write a regular feature for the quarterly newsletter about success stories, how-tos, and interviews with professionals. In addition, the committee will send representatives to meetings of the CCRA Zoning Committee, Philadelphia Historic Commission, Philadelphia Art Commission, and the Preservation Alliance to pass along information and represent the interests of CCRA.
How you can participate
We are looking for people with an interest in historic preservation and architecture with or without professional experience in either of these fields.
To invite the public into our homes enabling them to see the various ways that residents in Center City live whether townhouse, condominium or cooperative; whether home ownership or a rental; from efficiencies to mini-mansions, whether historic or contemporary. The tour is an annual event that has been ongoing for 25 years. Interested attendees look forward to the open houses to occur in October, rain or shine.
Each year we must acquire approximately 12 to 15 homes, businesses and points of interest to be open to the public. We also look for advertisers to cover the cost of our brochure.
How you can participate
Volunteer your home. Volunteer to be a host/hostess for a 2-hour shift and receive a free ticket for the tour.
To increase retention of current members and increase the number and improve the cross-section of new members, to increase awareness among the public and government officials of CCRA’s contributions to the community, and to increase the value of our services to members and the public at large.
We held a Board retreat in 2009-2010 to discuss strategic planning for the organization and launched a first-ever online idea forum of all members to measure their perceptions of the organization and ask what they would like CCRA to do and be.
We are working diligently to increase membership levels by 50% and to be more representative of CCRA's resident population with special emphasis on younger members, renters, and high-rise dwellers; to promote greater visibility and committee growth throughout the organization; and strengthen institutional relationships.
To seek qualified and engaged leaders to nominate as officers and directors who will carry out the mission and programs of the organization.
If you are interested in serving on the CCRA board, we invite you to participate in a committee that interests you. Nominations for 2011-2012 will be requested at the beginning of 2011.
To gather and disseminate vital information from the police district on crime statistics in our boundaries with the immediate goal of providing information and improving safety and the quality of life within CCRA boundaries. To reduce the amount of misleading and incorrect information that is disseminated; be timelier in the reporting t the police of incidents occurring in the neighborhood; and report back to the community any trends in crime and resolutions to existing crime trends.
In addition, this committee can help move your safety or crime issue through the proper channels within the police department. Note: The situation must first be reported first to the police by either the victim or witness.
How you can participate
We are looking for people (especially from high-rises) who can represent CCRA and their buildings at police meetings, and we are also looking for co-chairs and patrollers for the Town Watch group so that it can organize regular patrols to walk through the neighborhood on a nightly basis.
To manage all aspects of the SRPCG so that plot-owners have a place to garden, to promote community-building, beautification and greening.
Beginning in 2008, with volunteer labor and grants, we replaced benches and plot borders and upgraded some plumbing. We also joined City Harvest, a program in which we plant seedlings grown by inmates in the Philadelphia prison system, and provide the harvests to local food cupboards. In addition, we partnered with local schools to support their educational programs and continued our annual ladybug release party. For the past three years, we have won second place in our class across the city for our beautiful garden.
How to participate
Garden Plots & Waiting List
If you are a CCRA Resident Member and would like to be placed on the waiting list for a garden plot, please contact us at email@example.com. Wait time is generally 1-3 years and new gardeners are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Plots are renewable for up to six years by gardeners who are CCRA Resident Members in good standing.
In addition to the 65 plots allocated by waiting list there are five plots available to non-member residents, awarded each spring by lottery for a one-year term. For more information about the lottery, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.srpcg.org for more information about the Garden.
Increase tree cover and share knowledge concerning tree care and how to remove dead or dangerous trees within our boundaries.
CCRA provides assistance to the Friends of Schuylkill River Park Tree Tenders (“FSRP”) by helping to gather tree planting volunteers and by finding residents, and businesses, who want trees planted in their sidewalks. This program is part of the Plant One Million program , an ambitious multi-state tree-planting campaign in 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of New Jersey and Delaware. FSRP plants between Broad Street and the Schuylkill River and between South and Walnut Streets.
Get a Sidewalk Tree planted
Property owners must take down dead trees. Additionally, tree stumps in empty tree pits often require grinding in order to make room for the new tree. Those costs are on the property owner. We can provide the names of arborists who fell trees and grind stumps. If you do not have a sidewalk tree pit, cutting one open is included in the application at no cost to the property owner.
There is also no cost for the tree itself or for the planting although donations are gladly received to help underwrite the program. Funds are directed to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, one of the Plant One Million program’s gracious underwriters. Please inquire how to donate!
Tree applications are typically due by mid-May for a Fall planting, and by mid-November for a Spring planting. Completed applications may be faxed to 215.525.4428 or emailed to FSRP at email@example.com .
Applications must be signed by property owners. Most tree applications are accepted, but it depends on site conditions and other criteria.
Volunteer to Plant Sidewalk Trees
The number of trees that FSRP can plant is limited by the number of volunteer planters. It’s simple and it’s fun to plant trees. Please ask how to become a volunteer!
Get a Yard Tree Planted
Alternatively, you may make applications for free private yard trees to TreePhilly, a program of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. You plant your own tree with this program.
CCRA Financial Reporting
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