CHESTER —The Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County’s security initiatives in uptown Chester will get a boost this spring thanks to a $20,000 donation from Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack. Harrah’s officials welcomed RADC representatives to the casino Monday afternoon to present a check from the Caesars Foundation, the philanthropic arm of parent company Caesars Entertainment.
The funding will provide at least 24 exterior light and camera combinations for homes to create electronic town watches in the Nova Vista neighborhoods, west of the 1700 block of Edgmont Avenue, and in the Irvington Hills neighborhood, from East 23rd and East 25th streets between Providence Avenue and Ridley Creek.
“We’re going to have community meetings in the spring and get people to sign up with applications,” said Lisa Gaffney, RADC executive director. “The application is to say that they’re interested in a camera and a light. Part of the process is also getting the community to work together so it’s a tool for us to encourage community and neighborhood revitalization by bringing people into the process.”
The light-camera combinations have been previously installed in 42 homes in the city, according to Annette Pyatt, executive director for the Chester Community Improvement Project. Two projects sponsored by CCIP and one by RADC installed the cameras in other uptown homes, which has deterred car break-ins and other quality of life issues, “as well as improving the exteriors of the homes aesthetically,” Pyatt said.
RADC is currently seeking funds from other corporate partners and foundations to expand the program and eventually move into other neighborhoods around the city, Gaffney said. The round of funding from the Caesars Foundation is Harrah’s latest contribution to a city- or county-based organization with a major project on its itinerary.
“It’s really about a specific project need. When we look to partner with an organization we’re looking for a place where we can have an impact on a specific project. In this case the security cameras,” said Chris Albrecht, senior vice president and general manager for Harrah’s Philadelphia. Previous recipients include the Delaware County Literacy Council for new signage and the Boys and Girls Club of Chester for new workplaces.
A member organization of RADC, Harrah’s has connections with many other groups it has nominated for funding through the Caesars Foundation. “Our team here are members of a lot of these organizations that we partner with,” Albrecht said. “A lot of our team members either donate their time or sit on the board of… the Boys and Girls Club, Riverfront Alliance, Cityteam… every year we’re working with those organizations organically through our board members.”