Kylie McGovern, editor
Crystal Bradley speaking outside of her store front in West Oak Lane. Via PHILADELPHIA BUSINESS
On Sept. 15, Philadelphia’s City Council released a new funding plan for a Neighborhood Preservation Initiative. Council members announced the plan outside of a local shop called Gilben’s bakery. Gilben’s is about ten minutes away from La Salle. The Neighborhood Preservation Initiative will benefit businesses like Gilben’s bakery as well as the surrounding areas. The owner of Gilben’s Bakery, Crystal Bradley will receive commercial corridor revitalization and support from city commerce officials similar to the support planned for under the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative. Bradley said, “Thanks to the city, our storefront and sidewalk are clean and orderly and our signage is attractive to our customers. It makes them feel comfortable to come and shop here. I’m very glad to hear the city plans to invest in commercial corridor revitalization all across Philadelphia.” Gilben’s Bakery is on a commercial corridor that the city has cleaned. The shop also received city aid for a new brick facade that allowed Bradley and her co-owner Crystal Brown to employ 10 more people in their store.
In addition to helping businesses, Philadelphia’s new Neighborhood Preservation Initiative offers $400 million to support first-time home buyers, fund home repairs and create affordable housing. The plan also allocates $113 million to affordable housing production and $64.6 million to affordable housing preservation. In addition, $58 million will be used for programs supporting first-time home buyers and $38 million for those providing home repairs. All additional funding will go towards infrastructure improvements programs, permanent housing for people experiencing homeless, business revitalization, rent assistance, eviction prevention and tangle title support. Funding for the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative will come from tax-exempt and taxable bonds that will generate a total of approximately $400 million in program funds over four years. President of the City Council Darrell Clarke explained that the Council is predicting that the $400 million investment will spur a total of $2.6 billion in economic activity for the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.
Clarke describes the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative as “the largest, single investment in Philadelphia neighborhoods in city history. For decades, neighborhoods like Juniata Park, West Oak Lane, Wynnefield and others didn’t need much support, as they were relatively stable. But a variety of economic factors have caused declines in our neighborhoods — and they need the city’s help and support.” With COVID-19 impacting the residents of the area economically, this initiative is important now more than ever and will benefit the entire city, but especially neighborhoods near La Salle University.