Investing in Philly

HARRISBURG ± April 26, 2022 – Community development projects in the 7th Senate District have been awarded $7.5 million state funds, Sen. Vincent Hughes announced today.  The grants will be awarded through Pennsylvania’s highly competitive Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

“All of these projects are geared toward improving the housing, health and learning experience of local residents while restoring community treasures for the next generation,” Hughes said. “The groups receiving help through this program had to do their homework and prove the merit of their work in a very competitive process.  I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish working together.

The Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program is a commonwealth grant program administered by the Office of the Budget for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic, recreational and historical improvement projects.

Awardees in the 7th Senate District are:

Philadelphia Zoo — $1.5 million

Grasslands and Giraffe Barn

The zoo will convert the existing Bird Lake to a large outdoor habitat for giraffes, ostrich, and Ankole cattle. An existing artificial wetland will be incorporated into a scenic overlook for close experiences with the giraffes. Guest views will be nearly 360 degrees, allowing for socially-distanced experiences even at high guest volume. A pre-manufactured and pre-engineered tensile structure will be erected on a concrete foundation wall to create a new giraffe barn. The barn will have a visitor viewing area, storage, and support spaces.

VICA Business and Financial Services — $500,000

Lancaster Avenue Training Center and Housing

The project will construct a mixed-use workforce housing development composed of a five-story, multifamily building with 47 units above a 3,300-square-foot community training center and 8,200-square-foot grocery store.

Laurel Hill Cemetery Company — $500,000

Gatehouse and lighting improvements

The project entails interior and exterior improvements to the gatehouse. Exterior restoration includes masonry repairs and repointing of the granite foundation and building base; wood restoration of columns; decorative millwork; restoration of windows, doors, and trim; restoration of the metal storefront; repair roof to prevent water infiltration and deterioration; and painting 100% of the building. Interior renovations include accessibility and public restroom improvements; reworking interior spaces to foster a more productive work environment; designating private spaces for grieving families; and creating event space for community and private gatherings. Electrical trades will install lighting enhancements to the building and grounds.

Methodist Services — $500,000

Power House Redevelopment

Through the Methodist Services project, the Power House will be restored to its historic external appearance and repurposed as the new Youth Center. Improvements to the building, include: restoration of the building’s exterior and structure; improvements to the building’s mechanical and HVAC system; plumbing, piping and fixtures; electrical MDP, wiring and fixtures; fire protection and emergency exit lighting; interior renovation, fit out and ADA improvements; and site lighting, water drainage and paving. An underground utility tunnel will be repaired and reinforced. Campus lighting, sidewalks, paving, curbing and related stormwater provisions will also be improved.

Mann Center for the Performing Arts — $750,000

Enhance the Experience Capital Project III

The project will encompass Phase 1, which includes: pavilion restoration (to address structural damage), electrical grid expansion, rainwater management (fix gutters), skyline stage construction to add a second main stage, and plaza renovations and expanded food and drink vendor locations.

Self Help Movement Inc. — $750,000

Self Help Movement Restoration II

The project will completely renovate of the basement and first floor of the property so that services, including outpatient; detox and residential beds can be provided.

Westside Venture Group LLC. — $500,000

Parkland West

The project will purchase vacant land and construct new workforce housing, senior housing, commercial space, retail space, a medical out-patient care facility, and community green space. The new construction will mimic the neighborhood’s current look and feel so that it blends in aesthetically. It is most important to the team that old and new neighbors feel inclusive.

NAML — $500,000

Skyview Senior Apartments

The project will construct and operate 50 units of senior apartments, along with an early child-care facility. The child-care facility will be 10,000 square feet within this facility. It will also feature commercial space, community space, and a medical out-patient care facility.

Cobbs Creek Restoration and Community Foundation — $500,000

Cobbs Creek Education Center and Golf Course

This project rehabilitates the historic Cobbs Creek Golf Course, which was a welcoming course to diverse golfers when discrimination would not allow them to play on other courses.  It is also an environmental restoration project as it creates a golf and education campus by restoring the course to its original routing, and by developing an education center with classrooms and community spaces.

Philadelphia Urban Riding Academy — $500,000

The city owned property will be renovated with new plumbing and electrical capacity, ADA restrooms, riding stalls, fire alarm systems and new meeting space to serve the community. Additionally, the surrounding grounds will be significantly updated with stormwater management remediation to allow for an outdoor meeting space, a large outdoor riding and training ring and arena with adjacent walker pen, paddocks and grazing area.

William H. Gray Memorial Foundation — $1,000,000

Living Legacy Campaign

As part of the redevelopment of Philadelphia’s historic William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, we will build a memorial that includes a vivid interactive installation that offers lessons to current and future generations through Congressman Gray’s work in business, community building, public service and civic life. The site has been specifically selected to ensure exposure to a robust group of daily and annual visitors. Specifically, the project will include: planning, design, and construction of the memorial installation along with related educational activities at both the station and nearby Drexel University.