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University City Science Center goes from the lab to the street with Market Street revitalization

As one of the top urban research facilities in the U.S., the University City Science Center has launched many groundbreaking innovations inside its labs. Its most recent innovation, however, had nothing to do with formulas or equations. The Science Center this week celebrated its Market Street Revitalization Project, which raised over $2 million from the City of Philadelphia's ReStore Corridors Project, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and 11 Market Street tenants from 34th to 41st streets. The revitalization added new trees, sidewalks, benches, bike lanes, lighting and crosswalks to the 7-block corridor.

"We look at ourselves as having a campus here, between 34th and 39th Street,"  says Science Center Senior VP of Real Estate Curtis Hess. "Part of the reason for the project was as a way to tie the whole campus together. As a major stakeholder in this corridor, it just made sense for us to take the lead on the project."

When the project was conceived in January of 2008, University City District approached the Science Center about streetscape improvements at 40th and Market. By the time the project got underway in November 2009, the two projects had been combined to encompass the whole corridor from 34th to 41st, connecting the Science Center complex with neighborhoods to the west. Officials hope the added lighting and footpaths will make the neighborhood safer and will beautify the Science Center campus for future tenants.

"If you look at the fact that we broke ground in November 2009, we had horrible rain in the fall, not one, not two but three blizzards in the winter, then it got to summer and the temperatures rose into the 90s and 100s and stayed up there," says Communications Director Jeanne Mell. "There were a lot of challenges to overcome and now that it is completed, we want to celebrate it and show it off."

Source: Curtis Hess, University City Science Center
John Steele
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