Cliché be damned, in Cedar Park, neighbors are showing how seriously they take being members of a community. When Elena’s Soul (4912 Baltimore) caught fire on Christmas Eve, its subsequent demolition toppled more than one business. Its neighbors on each side caught wind of falling debris to such an extent, owners were forced to close as well.

Three closed businesses

At the Cedar Park Café (also 4912 Baltimore), which opened last year, the felled forces crashed through the roof. Gary’s Nail’s (4910 Baltimore) was bordered up around the turn of the New Year.

This evening from 7-10pm, a fundraiser will be hosted to benefit the employees who were put out of work due to the turn of circumstances, at the recently incarnated Cedar Works artisan studio space in Cedar Park, located just behind Elena’s at 4919 Pentridge Ave. The event is sponsored by the Baltimore Avenue Business Association and Cedar Park Neighbors.

The Cedar Works

“They’re important to the neighborhood and we want to show our support to local businesses,” said Linford Martin, co-owner and developer of The Cedar Works.

This strip of Baltimore Avenue has realized an awakening, so to speak, over the past few years. In only recent months there’s been the opening of Marvelous Records and Seeds Gallery. On the same block is the award-winning Dock Street Brewery, plus Firehouse BicyclesSatellite Café and more.

Other businesses nearby

In West Philly, one is never sure who may turn up. There are scores of musicians and artists in the area, including nationally touring folks. Tonight’s event calls for music, refreshments and more. West Philly’s been ahead of the game in terms of community building, with locations like Mariposa, and on issues like urban farming and sustainability. And this is just another example of what makes West Philly so special.

–Lou Mancinelli