Gateway The President’s Message The Neighborhood Club of

Fall 2011
Newsletter of The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd
P.O. Box 717, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania 19004 •
The Oldest of the Main Line Civic Associations – 1906
John C. Grugan, President — 610.668.2536
President’s Message
This fall, the rezoning of City Avenue
will be among the most important issues
the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners will consider. Whether rezoning
should occur has been and continues to
be a divisive issue. It also is an issue The
Neighborhood Club has studied for four
years, during which time we have worked
with our neighbors, elected officials, and
Township staff.
Whether The NCBC will be supportive
of the rezoning ordinance depends upon
what the final draft of the ordinance provides. From our perspective, some additional work needs to be done to the
draft ordinance distributed in September
2011. This draft, however, is significantly
improved from the original draft and
provides a number of very favorable and
important elements. Even in its current
form, the rezoning ordinance will require
thoughtful development that, we believe,
will rejuvenate City Avenue. In addition,
and critically, the rezoning ordinance will
prohibit development that is currently
allowed but that we believe is inconsistent with preserving the residential
character of our community.
We will update you by e-mail once we
believe the ordinance is appropriate for
passage by the Board of Commissioners. In the meantime, we will continue
to encourage you to get involved and,
if you would like any information from
us, please e-mail me at [email protected]
John Grugan
Casey O’Bannon, Editor — 610.668.0734
The Neighborhood Club of
Bala Cynwyd’s Annual Meeting
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
7:00 p.m., refreshments • 7:30 p.m., start of business meeting
Union Fire Station
Montgomery Avenue and Tregaron Road
(Please note change of location for this meeting)
Please join us for refreshments prior to the meeting followed by Elections
of Directors and Officers. After our elections we will conduct a full slate
of business including presentations and discussion about current
neighborhood issues. All neighbors are welcome.
Candidate Slate for
The Neighborhood Club Annual Elections
Following are the candidate slates for The Neighborhood Club elections.
Candidates were interviewed by The Neighborhood Club’s nominating committee. Per our bylaws all members (dues paid for 2011) are eligible to vote.
For Officers to serve one year (terms expiring December 31, 2012)
John Grugan, President
Amara Briggs, Vice President
Meredith Toole, Secretary
Casey O’Bannon, Treasurer
Bob Zimmerman, Solicitor
Anne M. Greenhalgh, Past President
For Director beginning new terms January 1, 2012
through December 31, 2013
Laurie Actman, Maxine Goldberg, David Haas,
Frances McComb, Patricia Smith, Ellen Wertheimer
Any Neighborhood Club member wishing to nominate a candidate for offi­cer or director other than those selected by our Nominating Committee
should consult The Neighborhood Club’s bylaws at
for details.
To be included on our email list and to receive our electronic newsletter,
notify us of your interest by emailing [email protected]
Commissioner’s Corner
Greetings Neighbors, here’s the latest Township update —
6:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Township Administration
Building, 75 E. Lancaster Avenue, Ardmore. Extensive commentary has been provided about the proposed rezoning ordinance on these pages in prior editions of this newsletter copies of
which can be found at Detailed information about the ordinance is available on the Township’s Website
Bala Cynwyd continues to be a beehive of activity. The longawaited Cynwyd Heritage Trail ribbon cutting is scheduled for
Sunday, October 23, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. at the site of the former
Barmouth train station, a/k/a the north end
of Levering Mill Road. Both the Township
and the Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage
Trail have planned a lively series of events
to celebrate the occasion, you won’t want to
miss it. In case you have not seen or experienced the trail, the ribbon cutting would be
an ideal opportunity to do both.
Several Neighborhood Club members have been involved with
the ordinance drafting process almost from its inception and
would be happy to provide information on it as well. See http:// and
scroll down to “City Avenue” for a list of City Avenue Committee members. Feel free to contact me as well at [email protected] I’d be happy to provide you with background information on the proposed ordinance and to discuss its various
aspects with you. You are encouraged to attend and participate
in the forthcoming workshops and public hearings on this subject. Watch for advisories about dates and times in the Main Line
Times and on the township’s website. Also, you can subscribe
to my listserv by browsing to
listinfo/ for this and other community-related information.
Bids for renovation of the Bala Library should be in and under
review by Township staff by the time you read this. The renovation of the Bala Library is much needed as it is the second most
utilized branch in the Lower Merion Library system; its environmental systems are failing, the roof leaks, and this will be its first
significant upgrade of the building since its construction in 1974.
This library is unique in that it has the most extensive array of
children’s programs among the libraries in the system, and the
library is being expanded modestly to accommodate the demand
for those programs, as well as to provide additional reading
areas and areas for personal computer uses (laptops, e-books and
similar devices). For those not familiar with the Lower Merion
Library System, it recently joined the Montgomery County
Library & Information Network Consortium (“McLINC), a
county-wide collection-sharing initiative whereby residents can
borrow books from libraries throughout Montgomery County
that belong to the consortium and have them delivered to their
local branch for pick-up. The Township’s libraries are a valuable amenity to residents and are among the most heavily used
facilities in the County. They need your support and I urge you
to provide it in any way that you can.
Concurrently with discussions about City Avenue rezoning, this
fall the Township will be discussing funding options for intersection improvements that are identified in the recently-approved
City Avenue Transportation Service Area (“TSA”) during the
Township’s forthcoming Capital Improvement Plan public sessions. The TSA study recommends improvement to intersections
that will improve traffic flow and reduce jams at various intersections in and around City Avenue. Proposed improvements
include a fairly sophisticated combination of traffic-control techniques, such as closed-loop signal timing, re-striping, some roadway widening where practical, additional turn lanes, and similar
changes to roadway configuration and operation. This is a long
term plan, spanning some 20 years and costing in the range of
$20 million. Funding is expected to come from a number of
sources: PennDOT ($6.2 million), the City of Philadelphia ($3.8
million), the Township ($5.3 million), and developer fees ($4.3
million). The Township portion can be reduced if the proposed
zoning ordinance passes in its current form by virtue of an incentive clause in the ordinance that, if employed by developers, will
provide revenue for roadway improvements to offset costs that
otherwise would be provided by the Township.
Plans for the Bala Avenue Streetscape Improvement program
have been submitted to PennDOT for review and should be on
the street for bidding soon if not already. This project is intended to stimulate the revitalization of the Bala Avenue corridor,
and it commences with improvements in the stretch between
Montgomery Avenue and Union Avenue. Included will be new,
textured crosswalks at key intersections to improve pedestrian
safety; new, pedestrian-scaled lighting (rather than the existing
cobra-head roadway-type lighting); additional street trees; and
changing traffic controls at Union Avenue from traffic signals to
stop signs (another safety move).
There is, of course, the Bala Cynwyd Farmer’s Market that holds
forth every Thursday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the GSB
Building parking lot at Belmont Avenue and St. Asaphs Road,
through October and possibly into November, a great place to get
food grown naturally on local farms. What could be better?
Two new restaurants have opened on Bala Avenue: Pa & Pa Thai
& Viet Cuisine, and Pescatore, this being good news for diners.
We wish them the best success.
Public workshops continue to be held to provide information
about and to take public comment on the proposed rezoning of
the City Avenue corridor, the next workshop being scheduled for
October 24, 2011. All City Ave. workshops are held starting at
And those are just some of the things that are going on in Bala
Cynwyd! Have a happy and safe Halloween!
— George T. Manos
Ward 9 Commissioner
Bala Cynwyd: Then & Now
Co-sponsored by The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd and the Lower Merion Historical Society
Thursday, December 1 • 6 p.m.
$20 members* / $25 non-members
Bala Theatre • 157 Bala Avenue • Bala Cynwyd
Illustrated lecture includes a wine-and-cheese reception
For this special evening, another in the popular “Then &
Now” series, you will see a wonderful variety of images
illustrating the many-layered history of Bala Cynwyd. These
historical images come from the voluminous archives of
the Lower Merion Historical Society, which happens to be
located in Bala Cynwyd.
tos from City Avenue documenting the 150-acre Pencoyd
tract and its mid-century “Golden Mile” heyday. A fascinating 1920s-era aerial photograph, revealing construction
underway at the Bala Theatre, also shows the developing
residential and commercial sections of the village. Photos of
specific buildings along Bala and Montgomery Avenues
reveal that many of these remain, for now, in the landscape.
Jerry Francis, President of the Lower Merion Historical
Society, will lead us through this visual tour of Bala
Cynwyd. A lifelong resident of Bala Cynwyd, Francis is
the co-author (with his daughter, Sarah) of a richly-illustrated new book, Lower Merion and Narberth, which will
be available at the event — proceeds benefit the Historical
Society. Mr. Francis will be joined by Bala Cynwyd resident
and Conservancy Historic Preservation Director
Lori Salganicoff.
The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd, protector of
this community’s civic interests since 1907, co-sponsors
this event. Our host for the evening is the beautiful Bala
Theatre and Clearview Cinema, which generously nudged
their movie schedule for the evening!
*Membership rate is available to all members of The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd, Lower Merion Historical
Society, and/or the Lower Merion Conservancy. Members
of all three groups get a free bag of popcorn!
We’ll see early images from Bala Cynwyd’s industrial and
railroad history, familiar historic buildings, and old pho-
Register online at or by contacting the
Lower Merion Conservancy at [email protected] or 610.645.9030
Beautification Committee Sidewalk Awards
The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd Beautification
Committee is delighted to award this year’s sidewalk garden
award to Howard and Barbara Cohen of 34 Derwen Ave. This
magnificent shade garden hosts many hostas, hakonechloa,
heuchera, and carex, all under an oak tree and a katsura.
The house is wrapped in swaying grasses and blooming
hydrangeas. The judges were enticed to take a walk around
back, where the gardens continue to astound.
Please join us at our annual meeting on November 15th at
7:30 p.m. to honor the winners.
Refreshments will be served beginning at 7 p.m.
Interested in Becoming a Director of The Neighborhood Club?
Please send a resumé or letter of interest to:
The NCBC | Attn: Nominations | P.O. Box 717 | Bala Cynwyd PA 19004
Upcoming Meetings
Lower Merion Township
Commissioner Candidates Debate
Please join us for one of our upcoming meetings at The Academy
November 15, 2011 Annual Meeting
(at Union Fire Association)
December 13, 2011
January 10, 2012
February 14, 2012
March 13, 2012
April 10, 2012
May 8, 2012
June 12, 2012
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 • 7:30 p.m.
Academy Building
Please join us for Lower Merion Township Commissioner
Candidates Debate sponsored by The League of Women
Voters, The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd, and the
Federation of Civic Associations of Lower Merion. The
following candidates who are running for Lower Merion
Township Commissioner will participate in the debate:
Ward 9 — Democratic Commissioner George T. Manos and
Republican candidate Dr. Richard Kaufman
Ward 13 — Democratic Commissioner Brian McGuire and
Republican candidate Louis Barson
Please note: in the event of inclement weather, The NCBC will
adhere to Lower Merion School District closures.
Neighbors interested in submitting a question for consideration to be asked should send it to the moderator, Mary Ellen
Hagner ([email protected]).
The Cynwyd Heritage Trail
Fall Festival and Trail Ribbon Cutting Event
Sunday October 23, 2011 • 1:00 p.m.
Barmouth Station at
Levering Mill Road and Belmont Avenue
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail will be
hosting a Fall Festival and Ribbon Cutting ceremony
to celebrate the opening of the Cynwyd Trail.
Bring your family to enjoy many fun activities
For more information, please check out the
Cynwyd Heritage Trail web site at
The Lower Merion Academy, where NCBC meetings are held.
Bicycle Coalition Supports Development
of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail
The Cynwyd Trail’s opening on Sunday, October 23rd is the culmination of many years of hard work to repurpose an inactive
rail line north of the Cynwyd Station into a 350-acre linear park
and rail-to-trail comprised of public, private, and institutional
lands that will offer recreational, economic, community-building
and educational opportunities to Lower Merion Township and
the region. This local success, led by Lower Merion Township
and Friends of Cynwyd Trail, will be further enhanced by the
forthcoming opening of a trail on top of the Manayunk Bridge
that will connect directly with the Cynwyd Trail, thus reconnecting Lower Merion to Manayunk and the Schuylkill River Trail.
the opening of the Manayunk Bridge a possibility and provide a
direct connection between Lower Merion and Philadelphia.
Bala Cynwyd resident and Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Board Member Leslye Abrutyn will be holding an evening fundraiser for the Bicycle Coalition at her home, 209 Rhyle
Lane, Bala Cynwyd, on Wednesday, November 9th, at 7:30 p.m..
Community members interested in trails advocacy, transportation issues, and the work of the Coalition are invited to attend.
Drinks and light refreshments will be served.
Coalition Executive Director Alex Doty and Campaign Director
Sarah Clark Stuart will be in attendance to deliver a short presentation on regional trails. Attendees will be able to make a gift or
pledge in support of the Bicycle Coalition that evening. RSVPs
and questions may be directed to [email protected] or
by phone 215.242.9253 x304.
Ensuring that the Manayunk Bridge be reopened for bicyclists
and pedestrians has been a high priority of the Bicycle Coalition
of Greater Philadelphia’s Complete the Schuylkill River Trail
Campaign. Local residents will have an opportunity to come
and learn more about the Bicycle Coalition’s advocacy to make
Another Successful July Fourth Celebration in Bala Cynwyd
Thank you to the following neighbors and businesses
who helped make the Independence Day Celebration a wonderful success:
Samuel Adenbaum
The Bosin Family
Amara, Jason, Gavin & Jenna Briggs
Phyllis F. Kelley
C. Brian McGuire
Beth Samberg
Gerald Skillings
Al Vitiello
Gold contributors
Aldar & Murray’s
BMW / Mini of the Main Line
Bala Cynwyd School for Young Children
Bala Eye Care
Bala House Montessori School
City Line Investors
Clarke & Cohen
The Fischer Family
Hearing Technology Associates, LLC
Hymies Merion Deli
Law Offices of Jeffrey M. Lindy
Main Line YMCA
Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP
McGillin Architecture, Inc.
The New Tavern Restaurant and Bar
Sealord LLC
St. Joseph’s University
Town Hall Coffee
Valley Press Inc.
West Laurel Hill Cemetery
Westminster Cemetery
Silver contributors
Al & Harry’s Shell Station
on Montgomery Ave.
The Bryn Mawr Trust Company
City Avenue Special Services District
EY Productions
French International School
The Friends of the Cynwyd Heritage Trail
John H. Gilliam Agency
JPM Catering and Events
Walk The Dog
Walls & Windows
The Women’s Club
Herbert Yentis & Company Realtors
Fabulous Fourth of July in Bala Cynwyd
Thank you to all our sponsors for your generous contribution to
the annual Independence Day Celebration. You helped make the
4th of July a real success and community celebration!
During his thirty-one years of outstanding service, Sam brought
his reputation for honesty, integrity and faithfulness to every endeavor he undertook on behalf of the Association and the surrounding community.
The Neighborhood Club 4th of July Committee honored West
Laurel Hill Cemetery’s President and CEO Alexander L. (Pete)
Hoskins as Merchant of the Year.
Bruce D. Reed received a Lifetime Achievement Award.
The full text for all awards can be found at www.balacynwyd.
org under the 2011 4th of July Celebration section.
West Laurel Hill Cemetery’s care and respect for its community
extends beyond the traditional realm of its magnificent wrought
iron gates. When so many businesses can do little more than
focus on the bottom line the staff and management of West
Laurel Hill still find time to focus on the community.
Samuel W. Rennix, Jr., former President of Union Fire Association, was honored as Citizen of the Year.
Newsletter of The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd
P.O. Box 717, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania 19004
Presorted Std
U.S. Postage
Permit No. 50
Upper Darby, PA
Thanks to the following
neighbors and friends
who contributed to
this issue of The Gateway:
Leslye Abrutyn
Amara Briggs
Ted Goldsborough
Anne Greenhalgh
Linda Labowitz
Lori Salganicoff
Please Visit Our Website!
The NCBC website is a resource for:
✓ The monthly agenda
✓ Minutes of previous meetings
✓ Past copies of The Gateway!
✓Contact information for
Board members
✓ Community Links
✓ PAYPAL — to pay dues
Please visit
Thanks to our hard-working
off-Board Committee Chairs
Betsy Meyers
Phillip Rodbell
Fred Fischer
The Neighborhood Club of Bala Cynwyd Membership Form
Your dues help to:
• Alert you to neighborhood discussions of critical topics
• Preserve the residential character of Bala Cynwyd
• Support appropriate commercial development
• Monitor zoning, traffic and safety on our streets
• Provide community-building events like the 4th of July Celebration
Please send your annual dues to: The NCBC
P.O. Box 717, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
Household: ® Benefactor $100 ® Patron $50 ® Friend $35
Business: ® Gold $250
® Silver $100
Email Address______________________________________________