A contractor is needed to maintain the North Broad Streetscape Project light poles along North Broad Street.
North Broad Renaissance, a community development organization, extended the request for proposals for a contractor to order and install LED lights for the 55-foot-tall poles, maintain the upkeep of the art installation and provide emergency repairs.
The first request for proposal was issued last November. NBR extended the deadline for proposals to Jan. 31.
The group inherited the project from the city and the Avenue of the Arts, a nonprofit established under former mayor Ed Rendell.
Philadelphia’s Departments of Streets and Commerce invested $12 million to install 42 steel street light masts from Hamilton Street to Glenwood Avenue.
Designed by Bohlin Cywinski Jackson and James Carpenter Design Associations, the poles were installed in fall 2015, meant as an nod to former light poles that once lined the street during the early 20th century.
“When we inherited these poles; nobody knew what these poles were for in the community,” said Shalimar Thomas, executive director of NBR.
“It really was just decorative. It really was just an art statement to signify the renaissance of North Broad. We have to figure out how the make the most of these poles and that’s what our task is right now.”
The 2.5-mile pole installation has been met with criticism from some community members, as some have called them eyesores.
Linda Richardson, president of the Uptown Entertainment and Community Development Corporation, served on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the Avenue of the Arts.
“As a member of the advisory committee I was fairly adamant that any poles — any light structure should be illuminating,” Richardson said.
“The Avenue of the Arts went forward with what was a sculpture rather than lighting. We were appalled by the lack of understanding of the needs of the stakeholders. The poles are indicative of poor planning and that poor planning means that people who are affected and have an understanding of how things operate were not consulted.”
“The NBR inherited that project so they have to do the best they can do,” Richardson continued.
“We hope that we can make the best of a bad situation. At some point the lighting should be more illuminating to take in consideration safety issues for the businesses, residents and students.”
In its recent 2016 State of North Broad report, NBR said it was researching ways to use the poles as local attractions that will benefit the community.
NBR will hold three informational meetings — Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — regarding the RFP. For information contact email@example.com.