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For parts of West Philly, the creation of a new neighborhood plan

It's probably safe to say that most of the regular Flying Kite readers among you are by now familiar with Philadelphia2035--the comprehensive plan to create a blueprint for the city's future development. But you're probably not yet familiar with the recent plan to do something relatively similar--albeit on a much smaller scale, and without a catchy name--in five different West Philly neighborhoods.

Early last week, the People's Emergency Center held a kick-off event to celebrate the upcoming year-long process, which is known simply as the Neighborhood Plan, and which will focus on the Belmont, Mantua, Mill Creek, Saunders Park, and West Powelton neighborhoods. "Make Your Mark," as the party was called, was organized as a way to give area residents a chance to do just that: West Philly locals, for instance, scribbled various suggestions for area development and community-growth facilitation on a giant banner. ("More affordable housing!" "Jobs!") According to the PEC's Kira Strong, the banner will be traveling to all the planning meetings and public events that the PEC plans to host over the course of the year.

As for the $100,000 that will actually fund the year-long planning process, it came from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, whose mission involves improving the quality of life for those living in low-income areas.

And now? The real work of urban planning begins: There will be door-to-door resident surveys, Strong says, but also a listening booth where residents can leave audio comments and feedback for the planners. (Look for it at the Lancaster Avenue Jazz and Arts Festival on July 16.)

Once the year of planning is over, of course, a significantly larger chunk of funds will be needed to actually implement the plan. But in the meantime, says Strong, "We're really trying to engage residents and other stakeholders, to make sure this is an exciting planning process with some real energy."

Source: Kira Strong, People's Emergency Center CDC
Writer: Dan Eldridge

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