2515 Frankford Ave · Philadelphia, PA 19125 · phone: 215.427.0350 · fax: 215.427.1302
Neighbors Inform Plan for Lehigh / Somerset Area
In a blighted neighborhood faced with above-average rates of poverty and violent crime, it isn’t every day that neighbors get together to create a long-term vision for the revitalization of their neighborhood.
But that’s exactly what’s taking place for the residents living around the Somerset El stop. NKCDC is partnering with Kitchen & Associates and the Community Design Collaborative to create a community-led neighborhood plan for residents living in the area bounded by Lehigh Avenue to Somerset Street, from Kensington Avenue to Frankford Avenue. A task force comprised of community blockcaptains, representatives from the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, the city’s Commerce Department, NKCDC staff and others have been working to identify focus areas for future projects and programming in this area.
A community meeting was held on the evening of Tuesday, January 11th, where over 20 neighbors from this targetarea came out to discuss the strengths and challenges within their community. Neighbors were encouraged to dream big, creating lofty visions for vacant land and abandoned buildings in the area. “We have all this vacant land which could be used for gardening,” says Wilma Richardson, a block captain from 1800 E. Somerset Street. Many great ideas have emerged from the community discussions, including the need for new businesses, employment opportunities, and recreational facilities.
“There is actually quite a lot of potential in this area, given its proximity to so much mass transit,” says John Theobald of Kitchen & Associates. Neighbors are helping to guide any potential development which might take place in the area, including the rehabilitation of a vacant mill or the creation of a greenway along the Conrail Viaduct. “Given current conditions these projects are a long way off,” says Kevin Gray of NKCDC. “This plan, however, is the first step in making any of this a reality.
For more information on this community-led planning process contact Gray at 215-427-0350 x 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org