Joint Commerce and Streets Department project is part of the City’s multi-year neighborhood revitalization strategy
Philadelphia, December 10, 2014 – Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger joined officials from the Department of Commerce and the Streets Department, along with Council President Darrell Clarke, to participate in a lighting ceremony today to turn on street lights along the commercial corridor at Germantown Avenue and Erie Avenue. The Department of Commerce and the Streets Department are sharing the $200,000 cost to convert existing street lights to brighter LED bulbs and add to the existing number of lights throughout the neighborhood. This lighting project is just one of many strategies the Department of Commerce has employed over the last two years to revitalize the commercial corridor at Germantown Avenue and Erie Avenue. The area includes Germantown Avenue from Tioga to Butler and along Erie. The event marks a renewed commitment from the Merchants in the area to work together to make lasting change. The ceremony follows a community cleanup event earlier in the day.
“This revitalization project is an important example of the Department of Commerce’s commitment to investing in the economic environment of small businesses in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods,” said Deputy Mayor Greenberger.“Whether through innovative new programs such as Kiva Zip and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses or the work we support on commercial corridors throughout Philadelphia, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurship and community development in each section of our city.”
The Broad and Erie Station is the third busiest station on the Broad Street Line with about 7,000 average weekday boardings. The area includes more than 150 businesses operated by predominantly independents entrepreneurs. Germantown and Erie is a significant corridor for merchants, who create an availability of goods and services for consumers who live in the Tioga community.
Richard Montanez, Streets Department Traffic and Street Lighting Chief Engineer, said, “The Streets Department is excited to be a part of this project to revitalize the community. Improving lighting is one way to invest back into the community and make a difference. This pilot project of LED lights not only increases the lighting in the neighborhood, but also conserves energy. With the support and encouragement by the merchants, residents and the Department of Commerce, this is the biggest pilot area of LEDs the City has done combining both commercial and the residential aspects.”
Previously the Department of Commerce worked with the Streets Department in the installation of big belly trash compactors from Old York Road to Butler Street, as part of a multi-year, cross-departmental strategy to support revitalization efforts along the Germantown – Erie Corridor. Over the past two years the Department of Commerce has worked with the businesses in the area to address lighting, cleaning, transit and security. The Department has also supported the formation of the local Merchants Association, the Germantown Erie Merchants Association or GEMA, and the Called-to-Serve Community Development Corporation, which will work together with GEMA and the entire surrounding neighborhood. GEMA and other local government agencies have complemented the Commerce Department’s activities, such as:
- Organizing cleanup days along Germantown Avenue, with CLIP providing trash bags and other supplies to participants, and coordinating trash pickup with the Department of Streets
- Coordinating engagement of GEMA with the Philadelphia Police Department to address security issues; the Philadelphia Police Department assigned Officer Tyshaan Williams as a community liaison who works directly with GEMA
- Working with the Philadelphia Parking Authority to improve and add metered parking along Germantown Avenue, and revitalize an existing underutilized municipal lot that will add 25 metered and 44 long-term parking spaces to the area
The Called-to-Serve Community Development Corporation has designed and sponsored www.shopgermantownanderie.com as part of a marketing campaign in collaboration with the Department of Commerce to promote retailers in the area.
Leading the initiative for the Commerce Department is H. Ahada Stanford, Ph.D., the Director of Neighborhood Strategies in the Office of Neighborhood Economic Development.
“The overall strategy is driven by the Broad and Erie Transportation and Community Development Plan, which includes: addressing issues, such as safety and transportation; creating programs that target storefront improvement and streetscape upgrade and corridor cleaning; as well as, creating an environment for real estate and business development,” said Dr. Stanford. She continued, “This revitalization effort promises to have a substantial economic impact on the Germantown and Erie corridor. We are excited to see this street lighting project become a reality. As with the cleaning and lighting events today, merchants and resident involvement is a critical element to success.”