A “tired” commercial stretch of Stenton Avenue in Northwest Philadelphia is slated for a multi-million dollar facelift thanks to a combination of city and state grants.
The Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation (OARC) has been awarded $2.25 million to make improvements along the Stenton Avenue Business Corridor, which is loosely defined as the 6400 through 8300 blocks of Stenton in West Oak Lane and beyond.
The city has committed $1.25 million to the effort. The state, through its Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, has chipped in $1 million.
“It’s about creating an aesthetically appealing corridor so that people want to shop there,” said Jack Kitchen, OARC’s CEO. “It’s going to improve the quality-of-life for residents.”
Reducing crime and job creation are among the expected benefits of a project that will cover an area that encompasses an elementary school and two high schools, noted Kitchen.
The West Oak Lane Charter School, Hope Charter School and Martin Luther King High and sit on or just off of Stenton Avenue.
Project upgrades will include decorative street lighting, stamped concrete crosswalks and sidewalks and enhanced signage.
The city has additionally offered up to $250,000 for facade improvements for businesses along Stenton Avenue through its Storefront Improvement Program.
The program reimburses businesses for up to half of the initiative’s $8,000 maximum award for single commercial properties. Corner businesses or those that cover multiple addresses are eligible for up to $12,000 worth of repairs at the same reimbursement level.
Kitchen expects construction, which will run through parts of Cedarbrook and West Oak Lane, to start in the next three to six months. The project is scheduled to be completed in about nine months, he said.
The work along Stenton Avenue will mark the start of OARC’s third streetscape improvement effort.
The community development corporation has also led efforts on and around Ogontz Avenue in West Oak Lane and on Wadsworth Avenue in neighboring Cedarbrook.