The 300 locally owned businesses that line Frankford Avenue in Mayfair have been granted an opportunity to invigorate and improve their community.
Although some consider the avenue to be too congested with outdated shops and mini-malls, others view Frankford Avenue as a hub of Mayfair packed with mass business-appeal and potential. Community members claim Frankford Avenue, which hasn’t seen renovations in decades, is overdue for improvement and rebirth.
On Aug. 27, the City of Philadelphia awarded the Mayfair Community Development Corporation a $20,000 grant toward a Business Improvement District along Frankford Avenue. The Mayfair Community Development Corporation was selected to receive the monies after a direct campaign from the corporation. The funds awarded are to be put exclusively toward the avenue, in hopes to uplift and attract business through storefront renovations and groundwork cleanup.
Established in 2009, the Mayfair CCDC functions solely to develop the Mayfair community through commerce and business opportunities. The Business Improvement District resulted as an effort to take advantage of this condensed stretch of street and is an important fragment of the Mayfair CDC. After partnering with the Allegheny Iron and Metal Company, the Mayfair CDC has hopes to move to other hot button issues in Northeast Philadelphia like abandoned houses and lots.
Currently in its infancy , the Business Improvement District will stretch from Harbison Avenue to Sheffield Avenue, and will require 51 percent of property owners to comply with future improvement plans.
Chairman of the Mayfair Civic Association, Joe DeFelice, views the Business Improvement District as an opportunity that will reinvigorate the community as a whole.
“We feel that our residential community is still in really good shape. Our mindset is if we try to reinvest in Frankford Avenue and support the good local businesses that are here, we can build on that. The Business Improvement District will not only clean the avenue, but it will also make Mayfair a little more pedestrian-friendly. It will create new things to attract new people and new businesses,” said DeFelice.
DeFelice, who owns office space at Cottman and Frankford avenues, was elected chairman in February of 2012. A part from his full-time job, DeFelice devotes 20 hours a week to Community Development Corporation, and with the Mayfair Civic Association, where he used to be president.
Members of the Mayfair community that live in close proximity to Frankford Avenue agree that the Business Improvement District is an important step for the area. Maura O’Connell, who has lived along Frankford Avenue for 32 years, finds that Frankford Avenue is important to the community, but is in need of restoration.
“Frankford Avenue does currently contribute to the community. It provides families with a sense of community when we go out to pick up a pizza at Gino’s, or breakfast after Sunday mass at the Mayfair Diner. New business would strengthen the community because it might bring in a new demographic into the community,” said O’Connell.
Younger Mayfair residents also feel that Frankford Avenue must have updates to attract a younger demographic.
Sara McGilloway, a 22-year-old college student, said she would like to see useful businesses along the avenue.
“There are businesses I would like to see less of. I feel that there are far too many cash checking businesses, pharmacies and nail salons,” said McGilloway of the Frankford Avenue shops.
After hours of vigorous campaigning, the Mayfair CDC will see their efforts come to life along Frankford Avenue. Although this is a great feat for the Mayfair community, there is still a great deal of campaigning to be done. In order for the Business Improvement District to remain present and effective on Frankford Avenue, there must be a continuance of support from the community.
Those looking to get involved or attend a community meeting can find details on the Mayfair CDC’s website.