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Drexel students craft vision for North 5th Street in Olney

The stretch of North 5th Street that runs through Olney is brimming with over 200 businesses and situated in the heart of one of the city's most diverse neighborhoods. For business owners there, it's imperative to stand out in the crowd. Now, help is on the way -- during the month of May, the North Fifth Street Revitalization Project (N5SRP) is partnering with Drexel's Design and Merchandising Program to completely revamp storefront windows.
Since its inception in 2005, N5SRP has been dedicated to improving the physical environment and increasing economic activity along North 5th Street. The Drexel partnership -- now in its second iteration -- is an exciting tool, offering fresh ideas to help beautify the corridor and directly assist merchants in the process.
One of the college’s longest-running community engagement programs, the visual merchandising studio has provided students the opportunity to design window displays for more than a decade.

"In the recent past, similar projects took place in Old City and Northern Liberties," explains Philip Green, interim director of N5SRP. "It's exciting to once again bring the project up north."   

Olney's initiative will officially kick-off on May 14 with a background presentation to the participating Drexel students on the corridor and businesses. "From there, student groups are responsible for contacting their assigned businesses and setting up a meeting to discuss the window concepts," explains Green.
The four participating businesses -- T-House (a t-shirt shop), 5th Street Furniture Outlet, Advanced Family Dentistry and Gibson School of Music and Arts -- are a varied bunch. "We're very excited to see what the students come up with," says Green. "We're hopeful the ideas are as diverse as the businesses participating."

After the students have developed sketches and identified the materials necessary to make their designs a reality, installation will begin on May 28Students, businesses owners, N5SRP staff and community members will then meet on-site to give a final critique.

Source:  Philip Green, Interim Director, North Fifth Street Revitalization Project
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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