Washington, DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he has sent a letter to Shaun Donavan, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), supporting Philadelphia’s $30 million grant application that will be used to transform North Central Philadelphia by attracting jobs, commercial development and affordable housing. The grant, if received, will leverage $170 million to revitalize the once vibrant economy of this neighborhood.
“Philadelphia is one of America’s great cities and at the root of that greatness are vibrant, thriving neighborhoods,” Senator Casey said. “Revitalizing North Central Philadelphia is an opportunity to drive job creation and economic growth in a neighborhood that needs it. I’m urging Secretary Donavan to give full consideration to Philadelphia’s application so we can begin the work of moving North Central Philadelphia forward.”
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:
Dear Secretary Donovan:
It is my understanding that the City of Philadelphia, in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), has submitted an application to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The purpose of this letter is to express my strong support for this proposal and urge you to give it full and fair consideration.
I understand that the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Housing Authority will use this $30 million in funding to implement it’s Transformation Plan, developed over the past 10 years, for North Central Philadelphia. Specifically, I am informed that the City, PHA, Temple University and Asociacion Puertorriquenos en Marcha, among other private and non-profit stakeholders, will focus their comprehensive revitalization efforts on a .57 square mile area that includes Norris Homes low-rise public housing units. This area is adjacent to Temple University, the neighborhood's anchor institution, and two miles from Center City Philadelphia.
Until the 1960’s this neighborhood was home to a vibrant economy that featured warehouses and manufacturing facilities along with a strong and diverse workforce. Unfortunately, the collapse of the regional manufacturing industry and suburbanization has since led to high rates of poverty, abandoned lots, homes and underutilized land in the community. As it appears, the implementation of this program will leverage nearly $170 million to redevelop the neighborhood and provide sustainable affordable housing, recreational, and job opportunities to residents. This initiative will also help increase access to public transportation and educational institutions.
Finally, this effort has great potential to increase interest in the area by complementing the investments that have already been made along the Avenue of the Arts North and around the Temple Regional Rail station including Paseo Verde – a $48 million mixed-income, mixed-use Transit Oriented Development. Paseo Verde is the first LEED Neighborhood Development Platinum project in the United States.
Thank you in advance for the consideration of my views. Please include this letter in the official record of the application. Consistent with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, I also respectfully request that you keep me informed of the status of this grant application. Finally, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to contact me or my staff.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator