Building on the Strength and Promise of Hunting Park-East Tioga
Innovative and Inclusive Urban Renewal
- In 2007, the H. Chase Lenfest Foundation transformed an abandoned SEPTA repair station at 3890 North 10th Street into a model community gathering space. The 52,000 square-foot Lenfest Center was designed as a safe and welcoming community-focused hub offering year-round recreational, educational, and other resources for neighborhood children and adults to lead happy, healthy, and civically engaged lives.
- The “Lenfest” became the first step in a comprehensive campaign to revitalize the Hunting Park-East Tioga section of North Philadelphia, just east of Broad Street.
- In 2018, North10, Philadelphia was established as the parent organization of the Lenfest Center to deepen and expand its impact into the neighborhood it serves through innovative and inclusive urban renewal ventures. Headquartered at the Lenfest Center, the 501(c)(3) private operating foundation derives its name from the Center’s North 10th Street address.
- North10 collaborates with community partners to facilitate thoughtful and strategic, resident-driven revitalization and service initiatives that foster economic growth, increase housing options, enhance learning opportunities, and promote wellness. The goal is to become a model for community transformation that can be replicated in other neighborhoods and cities.
Building upon the achievements, commitment, and ingenuity of neighborhood residents and local leadership, North10 will support community revitalization efforts so that by 2028, Hunting Park and East Tioga will be home to:
- A high-quality cradle-to-career educational pipeline so that every neighborhood child has access to learning opportunities worthy of their promise.
- A safer, cleaner, and greener environment, where all residents have access to affordable healthy food, an array of physical, mental, and behavioral health services.
- Dignified, high-quality housing; readily available resources for current homeowners and homebuyers; and both rental and ownership opportunities that prioritizes the needs of the current residents.
- A diverse cohort of local businesses, job opportunities, and adult learning options.
- North10 staff works with community partners Nicetown Community Development Corporation, Temple Population Health, Hunting Park Neighborhood Advisory Committee, Omo Orisha Temple, Temple Center for Urban Bioethics, Zion Baptist Church, and Young Life Philadelphia.
Together with the help of community residents, they have collectively implemented a weekly food distribution system that distributes approximately 850 bags of non-perishable food to more than 1,200 children, families, and seniors. North10 operates as a local warehouse; the food is then distributed with the help of volunteer drivers. As the organization continues to adapt the food distribution model to best meet the community’s changing needs, it is working with the Coalition Against Hunger to implement a client choice food market inside the Center.
Neighborhood Profile and Need
- The Hunting Park-East Tioga neighborhood is home to 6,300 people, a third of whom are under age 19.
- The area is part of the police district with some of the highest rates for homicide and serious crime in Philadelphia.
- 40% of families live in poverty (Philadelphia’s average is 26%), with 20% of residents living in extreme poverty.
- 70% of the population identifies as Black (and 27% is Hispanic).
- Where others may see a map of staggering statistics in gun violence, murder rates, intergenerational poverty, and dilapidated buildings, North10 sees neighbors in a community that deserves much more. Together, we are building trust, sparking hope, and inspiring confidence to realize a better future.
- Living in poverty, uncertainty, and sometimes in danger means living with the stresses and anxieties that have lasting impacts. Research-based approaches to address these impacts are gaining wider recognition, and North10 is committed to applying them. Underlying all of North10’s work is a recognition that to find effective strategies for serving the people of Hunting Park-East Tioga—especially the children—trauma-informed care must be integrated into staff training and programming.
North10’s goal is community development without displacement from development or gentrification: to change this neighborhood for the people of this neighborhood.
- North10 is an active partner with and supporter of its local elementary school, Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary School. The school’s current schoolyard, located in the heart of the neighborhood, is a large blacktop surface devoid of play structures or other positive features, reflecting the systemic neglect and inequities that plague communities of color.
- North10 is deepening its commitment to the children and families of the neighborhood by working with key partners to create a safe, community-focused, and fun learning-yard at Bethune Elementary School, open to all community residents.
- More than just a play space, the schoolyard will provide a safe, calming retreat for students, many of whom have been plagued by the trauma of gun violence, generational poverty, and similar elements that research has shown has a negative effect on learning and healthy growth.
- North10 has partnered with the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit organization, to design and build a long-lasting schoolyard with and for community members. With a mission to “create parks and protect land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come,” TPL has helped construct or rebuild several parks and schoolyards across Philadelphia.
- As part of its participatory design process, Bethune teachers and students will have a unique hands-on role in envisioning their future schoolyard.
- The estimated cost for this project is $1.1 million. The School District of Philadelphia has pledged its support by investing a challenge grant of $300,000. Outreach for additional funding support is underway.
Be a Gem Crossing
- North10 has received funding for a new 68,000-square-foot, mixed-use development on the site of the former Liberty Motel at Germantown Avenue and Westmoreland Street, which North10 purchased along with surrounding properties, in 2018.
- The planned development, located across the street from Bethune Elementary School, will turn a landmark for crime into one of progress that extends the Lenfest Center’s reach beyond its walls to reinvigorate the economy at this key section of Germantown Avenue’s commercial corridor.
- Be a Gem Crossing was inspired by the names of several important avenues that converge near the site along the Germantown Avenue corridor. The project will feature 41 units of safe, affordable housing for low-income families and 13,000-square-feet of ground-floor commercial space that will be dedicated to community services such as a market, healthcare, or recreation center.
Funding sources include:
- $50,000 Neighborhood Economic Development (NED) planning grant from the Philadelphia Department of Commerce for surveys of neighborhood residents and other stakeholder engagement activities to determine the economic development and commercial needs of the neighborhood.
- $50,000 in matching funds to the NED grant from the H. Chase Lenfest Foundation.
- $2.5 million in development funds from the City of Philadelphia.
- $1,250,000 in 9 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits and $1 million in PHARE funding from the Pennsylvania Finance and Housing Agency (PHFA).
- The $22 million project is scheduled to break ground in early to mid-2021.