Lifelong Port Richmond resident Maryann Trombetta sticks to her roots, uses social media and walks the streets to stay aware of neighborhood issues.
By Melissa Komar
Maryann Trombetta lives on the same block of Tulip Street where she grew up and she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
The 63-year-old lifelong Port Richmond resident remembered the neighborhood being different as a kid, but it’s what has kept her rooted in the River Wards and why she strives to constantly improve it.
“Everybody looked out for each other,” Trombetta said. “If you needed something, the neighbors always gave. It was a different time then, but it’s not all bad. There is a lot good going on in this neighborhood. I love Port Richmond. It’s a nice place to be.”
Trombetta got her first taste of community involvement in 1999 as a committee person for state Rep. John Taylor, going door-to-door during election season and has been involved in the community ever since.
Trombetta kickstarted the current version of the Port Richmond Town Watch in 2010.
While Trombetta and 12 other members patrol the neighborhood on Friday nights from 7 to 10:30 p.m., being part of the town watch is a 24/7 duty.
“If I see something, I’m gonna call it in,” she said. “If I see graffiti, I’m gonna turn it in. If I see an abandoned house, I’m gonna turn it in. I don’t wait for a meeting to do it. I don’t go to a meeting to complain. I already know what’s going on.”
Being proactive requires being aware and involved.
Not only is Trombetta a regular attendee at PROPAC meetings, she alternates between Olde Richmond, Harrowgate, Bridesburg, and Somerset Neighbors civic meetings.
“You find out a lot,” she said. “Everybody is going through the same thing as everybody else. The only thing different is the street names. Everyone else has the same quality of life issues. We can all help each other.”
And, she makes it to all the meetings without a car.
While Trombetta acknowledges fellow civic members and attendees might give her a ride, “95 percent of the time, I’m on foot,” a tactic that works to her advantage.
“I don’t drive, I’m a walker,” she said. “When you walk, you see more.”
What she has seen on these walks range from graffiti, to drug dealing, to abandoned cars, to trash.
One abandoned car was parked on her corner for “almost six months” and when it was finally towed, Trombetta cleaned up five bags of trash that was under and around the vehicle.
Trombetta is quick to point out despite the issues — which she said can be found in every neighborhood — Port Richmond is a great place to live.
“If it wasn’t a great place, people wouldn’t stay and people wouldn’t be moving in,” she said.
To help curtail quality of life issues in the neighborhood, Trombetta also created the “Eyes and Ears of Port Richmond” Facebook.
With almost 6,000 members, topics range from best pizza spot in the neighborhood to nuisance neighbors.
The page can be a double-edged sword, with members simply posting complaints, but the complaints can bring issues to light.
“Going back and forth doesn’t change the situation,” she said. “So, if I see something posted and know the cops weren’t called, I’ll email it to the district, or I’ll email it to [Councilman] Mark Squilla, or [Rep.] John Taylor or [Councilman] Bobby Henon. I’ll make sure someone gets it.”
Aside from managing the town watch and the Facebook page, you can always spot Trombetta snapping photos at any Port Richmond event, and she is active with the 24th Police District Advisory Council.
And, Trombetta is a block captain because “when you don’t have a clean block, you tend to have more happen on your block.”
Improving the neighborhood is the bottom line.
“There’s a lot of movers and shakers in this neighborhood who don’t take credit, but I’m not a one-woman show,” she said. “I’m going to fight hard for where I live. I’m not moving out of my neighborhood. That’s your mover and your shaker. I’m going to stay here and fight to make sure it’s a better place to be.”