Drew applied to CPI because he wanted to become even more effective in making his neighborhood a better place to live. Through CPI Drew hoped to learn more about setting the direction of a neighborhood and understanding what type of development will keep the area healthy, growing, and rich with diversity.
He was interested in learning the best ways to mix old with new, historic with modern, green with clean, and accessible with walkable. Most importantly, he wanted to bring his neighbors together to share the information he gathered and to be informed at district meetings and Zoning Commission hearings so that he could raise important questions on issues that affect his neighborhood.
Since graduating from CPI, Drew has become significantly more involved in the Francisville community. Drew is on the FNDC (Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation) Zoning Committee, working with developers to advise them on changes for any plans that require variances and that need to be voted on by the community. Drew is also active in FNDC’s PR and Branding Committee, which is actively developing a new strategic brand for the neighborhood and applying that branding to a new website. They are also developing collateral materials for a new farmer’s market. Drew and a group of neighbors also came together to form the Friends of Ogden Park, a non-profit created to protect 12 parcels of land that form much-needed green space within the neighborhood.
Drew also recently joined the Special Events/Fundraising Committee to lead the planning of their first large fundraiser taking place on March 2, 2013. In addition, he is helping the agency pursue the permanent transfer of land making up Ogden Park into Parks and Recreation and has met with multiple organizations and people, including Deputy Mayor Michael DiBerardinis. The agency has also made plans to expand the park by adding two additional lots that were previously not included and they have requested that the Planning Commission designate the land for re-zoning as Open Space/Recreation.
Drew has received training to become a Neighborhood Liaison for the 311 program. This position is an advocacy one for the neighborhood, and a direct line to affect real change on issues that concern specific members of the community.
Drew feels that the knowledge he gained and the people he met through the CPI courses have encouraged him to have more meaningful participation in improving his neighborhood of Francisville. He would like to encourage CPI to connect with leaders of all neighborhood organizations and actively recruit participants through those already-engaged citizens. The CPI program showed him how passionate Philadelphians are about their own neighborhoods, and provided tools that furthered his own engagement.