The Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation has secured more than $2 million in funding for a third corridor development project in Northwest Philadelphia.
The funding will be used for the development and enhancement of the Stenton Avenue Business Corridor. OARC secured the funding through the city of Philadelphia’s request for proposals process. The city of Philadelphia is committing up to $1.25 million for streetscape improvements along Stenton Avenue between Allens Lane and Sedgwick Street, and from Barringer to Wister Street. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania also committed Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program funds in the amount of $1 million for the streetscape project.
The project will be designed and managed by OARC.
“It has been proven that aesthetically appealing commercial corridors are safer and more desirable for shoppers and new businesses. While these improvements improve the appearance of the corridors, they also make it safer,” said Jack Kitchen, president and CEO, OARC.
“History has proven that when we have implemented streetscape improvements, new businesses have followed. This means the creation of jobs and the stabilization of a tax base. When new businesses move in they hire workers, pay corporate, payroll, real estate, business privilege and use and occupancy taxes that will ultimately be reinvested within the region and state.”
The funds will be used to add streetscape features such as decorative street lighting, stamped concrete crosswalks and sidewalks, and enhanced signage.
OARC knows firsthand that streetscapes can have a significant effect on how people perceive and interact with their community.
OARC completed the Ogontz Avenue Streetscape Project in 2011, a $2.6 million venture funded in part with a $1.3 million grant from the city of Philadelphia Commerce Department and matching funds from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As a result of this project, Ogontz Avenue now has new pedestrian lighting with banners and hanging baskets, decorative crosswalks, benches and landscaping along a ten-block stretch from Middleton Street to Cheltenham Avenue. These improvements benefit the Ogontz Avenue Business District by encouraging people to walk, which can help reduce automobile traffic, improve public health, stimulate local economic activity, and attract residents and visitors to a community.
In addition to the funding for the Stenton Avenue streetscape, the city of Philadelphia is committing up to $250,000 for storefront improvements to properties along Stenton Avenue within the areas found between Allens Lane to Sedgewick Street, and from Barringer to Wister Street. Representatives from OARC are currently meeting with business owners on Stenton Avenue to roll out the Facade Improvement program.
OARC was recently awarded a contract with Philadelphia LISC to provide storefront marketing assistance to 10 businesses on Ogontz Avenue. During 2012, the corporation will work directly with individual businesses to educate them about creating appealing window displays.