New Civic Association Ready To Fight for Georgetown Residents
By M. Frith
How much do you care about your community, your streets? Enough to reestablish a civic association that has been inactive for too many years to count? Twelve Georgetown residents answered a resounding "Yes" to those questions.
Ziva Akrab, Anthony Braccio, Susan Diamond, Carole DiFiore, Valerie Goldman, Ira Levinas, Karen Modica, Edie Okun, Susan Rubinstein, Dr. Audrey Saitta, Jeff Tannenbaum, and Ada Weiss are the residents who recently initiated the reestablishment of the Georgetown Civic Association with enthusiasm and optimism.
Last summer, DiFiore discussed with some neighbors and friends the reconstruction efforts taking place in Bergen Beach, disappointed that she did not see the same efforts taking place in their community.
"It’s obvious by the condition of our streets that we were ignored," DiFiore said, "All we’ve had is patch work."
They eventually concluded that one of the reasons for the discrepancy was Bergen Beach having something they did not — an active civic association.
Subsequently, Akrab, Diamond, and DiFiore went door to door surveying neighbors about their concerns and interest in a new association. As a result of the positive feedback, they began to hold informal meetings in each other’s homes. By October they held their first formal meeting.
Just ten days ago they held a public meeting at Temple Hillel at Ralph Avenue and Avenue L. City Councilman Lew Fidler, representatives from the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Design and Construction, and an impressive number of community residents were present.
The attendance was extraordinary because, although the Georgetown Twelve doggedly promoted the meeting, they are still very much in the formative stages, with officers still to be elected and official documents to be filed. However, with the help of the Internet and the
president of Flatbush Park Jewish Center, Abraham Levy, their organization is moving along and has drawn the attention of Fidler, State Assemblyman Frank Seddio and State Senator Carl Kruger.
The goals of the new association, according to its founders, are fairly simple. Speaking for his colleagues in a phone interview, DiFiore said, "We want to have our voices heard. We have been ignored as a community because we had no representation."
Among their specific short-term and long-term goals, they want the streets reconstructed in a timely matter, four-way stop signs installed, a senior center, and a youth center.
Aware that this new Georgetown Civic Association could go the way of the former one, members urged those in attendance at the recent meeting to get involved.
"My wife (Dr. Saitta) and I can’t do it alone, the twelve of us up here can’t do it alone. Without the rest of you, we can’t do it," Braccio said.
Most of all, the Georgetown twelve hope the meetings of the new Georgetown Civic Association will rebuild the old community tradition where every neighbor knew the other. "I don’t think we’ve had a block party
in twenty years," DiFiore said with regret.
The twelve are planning to double their community outreach efforts so that the next meeting is even better attended. A block party can’t be far behind.