State of Center City “surprisingly good”

The Center City District has released its State of Center City report for 2011. In the words of Paul Levy, president of the Center City District, the state of Center City “is surprisingly good.”Downtown Philadelphia continues to grow–its population is up by 27 percent in the last two decades. And, says Levy, it’s growing in a sustainable way. He points to a growing college student population.

“The demand for Philadelphia schools has increased 87 percent since 2002,” Levy said. “This is a place where people, freshman, want to go to school. A huge success story.”According to a Campus Philly survey, 58 percent of those students who are graduating are likely to stay after graduation. Crime is down, and more importantly, perceived safety is up. Levy says 81 percent of residents polled feel safe in Center City. “And then, this sort of wonderful barometer: We had no outdoor cafes in the city in 1995. We counted 213 last summer,” Levy said. “To me, that’s the ultimate vote of confidence in a downtown that people think is clean and safe.”He says that industry diversification is key.  He’s looking to grow and attract employers outside of the health care and education sectors.

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