We Are Mantua Ten Years Later

WAMTYL BLOG April 2024

Greater expectations on the horizon after our We Are Mantua Ten Years Later Community Kickoff

The MCA was abuzz on the evening of the We Are Mantua Community Kickoff. With offers of childcare to the left and ample seating and community planning information to the right – a tone was set amongst Mantua community members and related stakeholders to bring their whole selves with their thoughts, concerns and questions to find out what exactly was literally and proverbially cooking.

Our delicious catering was provided by the Parkside’s Black woman-owned Star Fusion Express and supplemented with vegetarian delicacies from another West Philly favorite, Hibiscus Cafe. It was important to MVM that everyone was included in our dining options. We delighted in an assortment of soul-inspired dishes and enjoyed seeing a wide array of new and familiar faces. 

At nearly 100 people in attendance, we set out to review what the last 10 years had brought into Mantua. The assets acquired included several priorities related to affordable housing, education, environmental justice, workforce development and civic engagement. 

Sitting in the very space of the Mantua Civic Association, another product of the We Are Mantua 2013 neighborhood plan, there was also mention of things that some felt have yet to change. Conversation bubbled up related to opportunities for skilled local residents to provide contractor services to development projects or the need for comprehensive remedies for public safety and gun violence issues that too often are affecting our families.

There were many valuable moments like the much-needed greetings and goodbyes exchanged between community members and the engaging conversations with our consultant partners from Thriven and Community Capacity Builders that were memorialized with sticky notes that gave clear feedback on the identified issues.

We announced upcoming incentives like gift cards for those who open their doors to our surveyors and our Community Development Coordinator, Emma, administered the new and improved community survey right there on the spot!

Next in our WAMTYL calendar of events is a Neighborhood Walk on June 1st at 10:30am

With light refreshments provided and our walking shoes ready, we will start just outside of MVM’s current office space at 631 N. 39th Street and join forces once again to continue adding to the next chapter of the We Are Mantua Ten Years Later story grounded in real accounts of our neighbors’ experiences anticipations and visualizations of something greater so we hope to have you join us!


Photos from the WAMTYL Community Kickoff on 4.30.2024 

MANTUA RESIDENTS: WE NEED YOUR HELP! At this stage in the We Are Mantua planning process, we’re conducting a community survey to hear from residents about the changes that have taken place in the neighborhood over the last 10 years, and the biggest neighborhood needs for the next 10 years. By filling out this survey, you’ll help us make sure that this plan is truly by Mantua residents, for Mantua residents. All Mantua community members who complete the survey through this link will be entered into a raffle to win a $300 Visa gift card, which will be mailed to the address collected through the survey.

This survey should take no more than 10 minutes. To complete the survey, please click this link or scan this QR code: https://smdsv2.successmeasures.org/distributions/manipulatedistribution?key=4oXO4PLuWGMeXwrBZNpihAG8quprTPbkPaJWUH6tl67WeMFsjxqfY9UqPOVF4vFk

If you have questions, please email info@mvmcdc.org. THANK YOU!

WAMTYL Blog March 2024

The story of Mantua told through its community members is at one end of the perspective a collection of memories of family and friends born in close proximity to their current residences and buildings that no longer exist. On the other end, there’s something new on the city’s horizon. A change that can go by a few different names – progress, development, gentrification, or urban renewal. At the intersection of Mantua’s memories and visions on what’s to come is my perspective as Deputy Director of Mount Vernon Manor Inc.

I have my own memory from nearly two decades ago working with Philadelphia Yearly Meeting’s Work Camp Program in the neighborhoods of Mantua, Belmont and Parkside doing home improvement projects for community members and informing young people and their educational leaders’ Quaker-led community service. 

I have my own vision too set by the literal and figurative groundbreaking in Mantua – three different sites for much needed affordable housing developed by Mount Vernon Manor and the next chapter in neighborhood planning, We Are Mantua Ten Years Later, that encourages a citywide assortment of stakeholders, Mantua residents, and business owners to reflect and celebrate what has been accomplished and what remains to be achieved.

In pulling together a passionate Steering Committee our team sought out individuals that also had equal parts of memory and vision. 

For our first meeting, we gathered at Stomping Grounds Social Justice Cafe (pictured above) to review the past decade’s top statistics in Mantua for economic mobility and challenged each other to define success in the next ten years by the impact we make on the parts of our community still most in need.

By all accounts, there was no self-aggrandizing or centering of any individual who claimed to know how to make change happen on their own. Each one of us instead spoke of the inherent limitations and frustrations that come with attempts to change things out of sync with a collective and the resources we hear about twice as much as we see. 

The call to action by the end of our Steering Committee meeting was clear. As our Executive Director, Michael Thorpe, often encourages “bring your time, your talent and your treasures” to the community table and exchange them for a Mantua we can all feel prouder of in the next ten years and beyond. 

Upcoming in We Are Mantua Ten Years Later plans, we’ll welcome community residents and related stakeholders to our Community Kickoff on the evening of April 30th. It promises to be an open house-style gathering at the Mantua Civic Association (3729 Melon Street) with plenty of food and fun for your whole family to continue this conversation on neighborhood planning for and by the community here and now. 

For more details follow us on social media accounts via Facebook and Instagram, check our website mvmcdc.org or call the office 215-475-9492 to stay aware of all of our upcoming activities.

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