A new nonprofit is working to spur revitalization of the North Broad Street corridor.
As the director of North Broad Renaissance, Shalimar Thomas is leading the organization’s efforts to engage community stakeholders in revitalizing a nearly 4-mile stretch of North Broad Street from City Hall to Germantown Avenue.
The organization’s priorities include focusing on economic development, marketing and communications, maintaining clean and safe corridors and street lighting projects.
“We’re working on our strategic plan for the next five years and we’re just moving full speed ahead,” said Thomas, who formerly served as the executive director of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. “People are excited that there is a new organization that is focused on North Broad. They are excited to see that we are moving forward.”
Economic development is a key aspect of the organization’s revitalization blueprint.
“When you talk about economic development, that’s very important because we’re in this position where we can provide opportunities to small businesses in Philadelphia to do the work that we need done on North Broad,” Thomas said.
Her group has hired Dawn Chavous as a consultant to develop its strategic plan. Now the organization is seeking proposals from qualified vendors to provide sidewalk and public space cleaning and an anti-littering campaign and a contractor to provide planters along the corridor.
“North Broad Street was once considered the ‘Workshop of the World,’ with amazing infrastructures, businesses, arts and culture and a thriving community,” said Kenneth Scott, chairman of the North Broad Renaissance. “The community wants better and is ready to re-establish one of Philadelphia’s most prominent corridors as the huge economic driver it’s capable of becoming.”
Thomas says the organization wants to be connector between educational institutions on North Broad and area businesses.
“One thing we realized through research
“That’s another way we are looking at economic development, how we serve as a connector for jobs, for the students and their educational institutions and as a resource to ensure that we are providing quality employees to the businesses on North Broad,” she added.
The organization is doing targeted outreach to area residents and businesses located along the corridor.
“One of our major efforts right now is our outreach efforts to our primary audience who we identify as stakeholders,” Thomas said. “We have been doing some very heavy marketing and outreach efforts to connect with them and get them involved. We’re trying to get the word out that we want stakeholders involved, especially at this early stage while we are planning.”
The group will hold a strategic plan announcement party on June 28 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Mural Arts Loft Courtyard, 523 N. Broad St. To register for the event, visit www.northbroad.org.