New money brings hope to Philly area evolving from ‘badlands’ to ‘goodlands’

 Denise McGregor-Armbrister (right) of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation presents a check to HACE President Maria Gonzalez for use in redeveloping the Fairhill-St. Hugh neighborhood.   (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Denise McGregor-Armbrister (right) of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation presents a check to HACE President Maria Gonzalez for use in redeveloping the Fairhill-St. Hugh neighborhood. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A move to improve an area that’s been known as the “badlands” of Philadelphia is getting some support for redevelopment. 

The Wells Fargo Regional Foundation has given the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises $750,000 over five years to come up with a redevelopment plan for the Fairhill and St. Hugh neighborhoods.  The organization has used similar grants to leverage construction and redevelopment funding, said HACE President Maria Gonzalez.

“The cleanup of the Conrail viaduct — for which HACE has been a strong advocate for years — is a significant, critical component for the continued redevelopment of this community,” she said Thursday. “It sends a distinct message to the residents that positive change is coming.”

HACE is partnering with Philadelphia to make things better, said Joanna Cruz, deputy city managing director.

“So I know that having them on board with a significant contribution from the Wells Fargo Foundation will help the revitalization of West Kensington-Fairhill neighborhoods will lead to great things,” Cruz said.

Now the search is on for private and public money to help the community rebound.

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