New Grant Funding to Enhance Southwest Philadelphia

by Kevin Lessard
July 6, 2023

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New federal grants will help SEPTA implement a major trolley modernization and complete streets project and help PHA revitalize Bartram Village, building on PIDC’s efforts to enhance quality of life in Southwest Philadelphia

NOTE: This post has been updated to reflect a new Neighborhood Choice Grant announced on July 26, 2023.

New Neighborhood Choice Grant:

PIDC played a key role in helping PHA recently secure a $50 million Neighborhood Choice grant through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to redevelop and revitalize Bartram Village in Southwest Philadelphia. PIDC co-chaired the Neighborhood Task Force and served as a core team member during the development of the Blossom at Bartram plan, which was developed in partnership with community members, local leaders, PHA and others. The condition of the existing complex—built as temporary defense workforce housing in the 1940s—has contributed to quality-of-life challenges and has hampered efforts to attract investment and development to this part of Southwest Philadelphia.

This much needed funding will expand the scope of improvements the project can encompass by helping to fund a series of community-requested off-site projects that will enhance the area and better connect residents of Bartram’s Village to broader Southwest Philadelphia. This news builds upon PIDC’s ongoing collaboration with partners including PHA, SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia, all working to invest in Southwest Philadelphia and enhance the safety and quality of life for residents and visitors. Learn more in this KYW Newsradio article.

New RAISE Grant Award:

PIDC is thrilled to have played a key role in securing $25 Million in federal RAISE grant funding for trolley modernization and complete streets improvements on nearly four miles of streets in Southwest Philadelphia. The project’s goal is to reduce crashes where roadways and trolleys meet and multiple fatalities have occurred in recent years. Lighting will be installed as a deterrence from criminal activity in hopes to further enhance safety. State of good repair will be addressed by completely renovating aging streets to address system vulnerabilities.

The total project will implement trolley modernization and complete streets improvements on approximately 3.85 miles of streets. The complete streets portion of the proposed project—born out of the Blossom at Bartram’s Complete Streets Study co-funded by PIDC—will be implemented over a 1.5-mile corridor that spans from the intersection of South 49th Street and Woodland Avenue along South 49th Street to the intersection of South 61st Street and Lindbergh Boulevard, South 51st and 56th Streets from Grays Avenue and Lindbergh Boulevard eastward.

The trolley modernization portion will be implemented on an approximately 2.75-mile corridor from South 49th Street and Woodland Avenue along South 49th Street, Grays Avenue, Lindbergh Boulevard, and Elmwood Avenue until the intersection of Elmwood and Island Avenues as well as a portion of South 51st Street east of Grays Avenue.

The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity, or RAISE Discretionary Grant program, provides a unique opportunity for the DOT to invest in road, rail, transit and port projects that promise to achieve national objectives. The first of the new trolleys are slated for delivery in 2026, with construction on the project likely to begin in 2027. 

Ongoing Projects in Southwest Philadelphia:

This project builds upon PIDC’s ongoing partnership and collaboration, working with strategic partners including SEPTA and the City of Philadelphia, to invest in Southwest Philadelphia and enhance the safety and quality of life for residents and visitors in the area. Developments PIDC has helped drive include: 

  • Development of the Schuylkill River Trail:  PIDC acquired, assessed, remediated, and conveyed land for the Bartram’s Mile portion of the Schuylkill River Trail, providing first-time riverfront access to this section of Philadelphia. Soon, a new swing bridge will connect this portion of the trail to Grays Ferry Crescent. Learn more about how the extension of the trail will provide more connectivity for Southwest Philadelphia residents in this video produced by Urban Engineers.
  • New visitor center and field station for Bartram’s Garden:  PIDC is conveying land for this major project, what will repurpose land at the intersection of 51st Street and Botanic Avenue to establish a new resource for workforce development, climate resilience, river access, and urban environmental research and propagation.
  • New pre-K facility:  PIDC has reserved land to establish a new pre-K facility in the NESTT, which will make Bartram’s Garden the classroom for Southwest’s littlest learners.
  • Blossom at Bartram! Complete Streets Study:  PIDC contributed over $330,000 to fund a study that expanded its scope to include 51st Street, 56th Street, and more of Lindbergh Avenue.
  • New SEPTA Trolley Facility:  PIDC, through PAID, is conveying land for a new SEPTA trolley maintenance facility at the corner of Grays Avenue and 51st Street, which will service new trolleys that will be part of SEPTA’s trolley modernization project while at the same time removing opportunities for nuisance uses (e.g. scrapyards) along this corridor.
  • Blossom at Bartram! Choice Neighborhoods Study:  PIDC participated in this study and is conveying land to PHA (Philadelphia Housing Authority) to allow the site’s redevelopment to move forward without displacing current residents during the construction period.
  • Planning the Lower Schuylkill Biotech Campus:  PIDC is spearheading the Lower Schuylkill Biotech Campus (LSBC), a project consisting of 40 acres of land across two sites within the Lower Schuylkill Innovation District, a master-planned district anchored by the existing Pennovation Works campus. LSBC is a premiere opportunity for development partners to cultivate a world-class urban campus for modern cell and gene therapy bioproduction alongside the momentum of Philadelphia’s life sciences sector, providing thousands of jobs for Philadelphians across the educational spectrum at full buildout.

Working with our partners, PIDC is committed to cleaning, greening, and improving safety in Southwest Philadelphia. PIDC has worked diligently in recent years to build a strong relationship with the neighboring community and community partners as part of its strategy to ensure that the major development projects benefit all Southwest Philadelphians.

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