A group focused on rejuvenating a 4-mile stretch of Broad Street says city and community leaders should entice health-related businesses to the area around Temple University Health System, and increase green space and improve attractiveness along the North Philly artery over the next five years.
The three goals are part of the 2020 Vision plan released by nonprofit, North Broad Renaissance, which is dedicated to connecting community members with political and other local leaders in an effort to revitalize the economy and quality of life along Philadelphia’s North Broad corridor.
“This five-year plan is allowing us to set a strong foundation for North Broad Street — one that is aimed at cleaning, communicating, creating opportunities and improving the economic power and quality of life along North Broad Street and will help this corridor become one of the most innovative in the region,” said Shalimar Thomas, executive director of NBR.
Before creating the 2020 Vision, NBR assessed boundaries between City Hall and Germantown Avenue, and surveyed businesses and local residents about their likes and dislikes. Through these interactions, as well as more than 150 surveys, the NBR was able to create a plan that represents the community’s needs.
The long-term goal of the 5-year plan is the creation of a health zone around Temple University Health System.
“The goal of this health zone is to kill two birds with one zone — attract businesses to the corridor, while providing a resource to combat the health challenges that low income minority communities face and help the health care industry save millions in the process,” Thomas said.
In years four and five of the plan, NBR will begin to evaluate how to incentivize health-related businesses so they move to the area and how to go about developing the health zone so the local economy will create jobs for neighbors.
Just off Broad Street, Temple University already has plans to construct a $20 million health and wellness center on its campus.
Ahead of the economic development initiative, the year-old nonprofit plans in years two and three to identify a vendor who will provide cleaning services, begin placing banners along North Broad Street and increase green space. NBR also plans to increase police presence and safety ambassadors along the corridor.
These goals will create a “strong foundation” and improve the attractiveness of the corridor, Thomas said.
“One of the greatest things we did when completing this plan was go into the community to get a greater understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the corridor,” said Thomas. “Thanks to their feedback and additional research, the NBR is confident that we are putting out a strategic plan that serves the needs of the community.”
More than 2,000 square feet of new retail space is slotted for North Broad Street that will establish what could be a new, emerging shopping corridor in Philadelphia.
Some of the spaces that are planned are part of developments close to City Hall and the Pennsylvania Convention Center, while others push north toward Temple University and areas just off of North Broad.