The Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers and Community Association, Inc. held its first meeting on Thursday, May 10, 1895 at Varian Hall. This Association grew out of two smaller groups operating in the Woodlawn Heights area, namely the Central Improvement Association of Woodlawn and Woodlawn Improvement Association.
These two groups met on Thursday, April 25, 1895 and decided to appoint a committee to arrange for consolidating the two Associations. At this meeting, a gentleman named Mr. Powers, was elected President. Thirty four votes were cast. Twenty-four votes for Mr. Powers and 10 for Mr. Forsyth. The following month, the first meeting was held on May 10, 1895, thereby launching the Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers and Community Association as an active, civic association.
The first action the Association took was to appoint Mr. Powers delegate and send him to Albany to protest the five-cent fare bill on the Harlem Railroad. The "said expenses" were not to exceed $25.
The next action requested as many members as possible to attend a protest meeting at the Mayor's office on Friday, May 17, 1895 at 11 a.m. The Association was fighting against the granting of new land to be purchased by the city for the benefit of the Trolley Rail Road Line." The original minutes of these two meetings are part of the archives of the Association.
The Association grew throughout the years, tackling the concerns and issues facing the people of this rather bucolic community.
To this day, Woodlawn maintains a small town quality, geographically separated by the Woodlawn Cemetery to the South, Van Cortlandt Park to the West, the Bronx River to the East and the county of Westchester to the North.
However, despite this apparent isolation, the Association is involved with the same quality of life issues facing every neighborhood in the Bronx.
"To make Woodlawn a better place in which to live," is the rallying cry of the Association. This has been the major concern of the members of the Association throughout the years.
YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION WORKING FOR EVERYONE IN WOODLAWN FOR MORE THAN 120 YEARS!
A Civic Association That Works for All Residents, Tenants, Shareholders, Homeowners, alike!
· Monthly open information meetings
· Monthly newsletter
· Problem solving with Federal, State and City Agencies
· Neighborhood beautification
· Positive focus on our local schools
· Maintaining a low crime rate
· Economic development issues
· Assuring quality public transporation
· Lobbying politicians on your behalf
· Responding to quality-of-life issues
· Fighting for top notch commuter rail service
· Planning and coordinating community events
· (i.e., Memorial Day, Holiday Tree Lighting, Merchants’ Sidewalk Sale, etc.)
· Making Woodlawn a better place in which to live
“To make Woodlawn a better place in which to live” is the rallying cry of the Association. This has been the major concern of the members of the Association throughout the years. The Association’s first meeting was held on May 10, 1895, and one of the complaints addressed was that “the lamplighter has not been around for three nights.” The first political action of the Association was to protest the increased five-cent fare bill on the Harlem line railroad. That was the beginning of over a century of commitment to this community, and it has continued with many major victories throughout the years.
The Association is proud to have been the leader in the fight to bring these “firsts” to Woodlawn:
First Public School
First Fire Department
First Public Library
First Public Transportation
First Telephone Lines
First Electrical Power
First Post Office
- Establishing the Meals-on-Wheels program for our senior residents.
- Preventing the construction of a super highway across E. 233rd Street.
- Preventing the enactment of a discriminatory sewer assessment.
- Securing a library facility and fighting for its renovation.
- Expanding our local public school from a kindergarten through sixth grade school to a kindergarten through eighth grade school.
- Preventing unjustified increases in real estate taxes.
- Enhancing police presence in the area.
-Establishing area beautification programs, including tree and flowerbed plantings, neighborhood clean-up campaigns, etc.
- Presenting forums for government representatives to listen to the citizens of Woodlawn.
- Placing of traffic lights and signs in the neighborhood.
- Planting of hundreds of trees and flowers in the neighborhood.
- Installing Bishop’s crook-style street lighting fixtures on Katonah Ave.
The Association has primarily been supported through the annual payment of modest dues and donations from people like you. It has no paid staff, only volunteers. As a direct result, Woodlawn still retains its small-town charm.
Many people still think that the Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers & Community Association is really only for homeowners, but that has never been the case. Clean well-lighted streets, fire and police protection, public libraries, schools, trees, neighborhood beautification, traffic regulation, etc., are of great importance to tenants, co-op and condo owners and homeowners alike. It's important for all to be members of the Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers & Community Association!
CANDIDATES MEETING PROVOKES LIVELY DEBATE
A large contingent of Woodlawn residents assemble for the annual Candidates Meeting, and they are well rewarded. Here is where the voters meet the candidates face-to-face, both formally and informally. The Democratic, Republican, and other political parties are well represented. This is a place where members can ask questions of their political candidates. The attendance and level of interest expressed at the Candidates Meeting leave no doubt that people like yourself in Woodlawn really care. Woodlawn residents know that programs and benefits go first to communities that demonstrate a strong turnout on election day.
WOODLAWN’S BEST KEPT SECRET
Because it often achieves much for the neighborhood through long negotiations and endless meetings, the work of the Taxpayers Association is not always well known in the community. However, what has been achieved and what is being achieved is reported at the monthly meetings and published in the monthly newsletters. While its public face can sometimes be modest, the behind-the-scenes work is vigorous. Consider volunteering your services to the community and uncover Woodlawn’s ‘best-kept’ secret.
BE A LAMPLIGHTER . . . JOIN THE ASSOCIATION.
Membership in the Association is $15 annually. Dues are payable in late December/early January for the entire year. For those joining after the year begins dues are $15.00. Checks should be made payable to the “Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers Association” and mailed to the Woodlawn Heights Taxpayers and Community Assn., P.O. Box 0083, Woodlawn, NY 10470. Dues may also be paid at monthly meetings held on the second Monday of the month at 7:30 p.m. in the St. Barnabas High School cafeteria.
Become part of your neighborhood civic association! Help keep Woodlawn strong.