RTCA Nov 2020 update
by Pamela Jensen on November 17, 2020
Radnor Township Civic Association
The Radnor Township Civic Association (RTCA) is the sole remaining African-American-owned civic association on the Main Line. Historically used by Second Baptist Church, St. Johns A.M.E. Church, and the community for wedding and family celebrations, religious and civic functions, funeral gatherings, and picnics, it represents an important reminder of the time when Black residents were not welcome in other venues. Several churches in Wayne are collaborating to restore and upgrade the RTCA’s building, which dates from 1916, with the goal of providing community programs and services for children and adults in the Wayne area and around the Main Line.
History and Renovations: The RTCA was founded in 1932, during the Great Depression, as a relief organization to aid local residents in need. In 1941, the RTCA purchased the building at 248 Highland Avenue, which remained the center of its operations for more than 70 years. However, approximately six years ago, the building became unusable due to water damage and mold. WPC joined a collaboration of local churches and more than 30 local contractors to raise funds, donate materials, and provide volunteer labor to restore the RTCA structure and bring it into compliance with current township codes. The main floor has now been completely restored with new windows, freshly repaired and painted walls and ceiling, and new hardwood flooring. A small kitchen with new appliances, cupboards, and countertops is adjacent to the main room. WPC’s Vacation Bible School raised money to help fund a new wheelchair-accessible restroom. Air-conditioning was added in early 2020. At present the second-floor office/conference room is under renovation.
Recent Activities and Events: Radnor Township granted a Certificate of Occupancy for the restored main floor and basement of the RTCA in May 2019. On Saturday, June 1, 2019, the community celebrated the grand re-opening of the RTCA with a program of prayer, praise, and thanks to honor God, as well as a recognition of those churches (including WPC) and contractors who contributed to the successful restoration. Subsequently, until gatherings were barred by the coronavirus outbreak, the RTCA Board of Directors has rented the building on numerous occasions for family gatherings. The Radnor Township Police Department, in collaboration with the RTCA Board of Directors, held a Townhall Forum outdoors on the grounds of the RTCA on September 15, 2020. The goal was to begin a dialogue between police officers and Radnor community members, and approximately 40 attendees took part, along with 6 members of the police department. For Thanksgiving, turkeys will be donated to those in need. For Christmas, toys will be collected for local children, although unfortunately the Board will not sponsor a party for the children, as was done in 2019, due to covid-19 restrictions.
Future Plans: Re-opening the building has provided a reasonably priced venue for many of the same religious and civic events historically held at the RTCA. An after-school program for grades K–12 is being organized by Main Line Mentoring. Programs for senior citizens, including health screenings, recreation and exercise, entertainment and social opportunities, are being organized in collaboration with the Wayne Senior Center. WPC is helping to fund these programs for children and adults through grants to the RTCA, Main Line Mentoring, and Wayne Senior Center from the Shalitta Bequest.
[Scott Laird, Chair, Local Mission]
Updated November 2020
November 11, 2020