Neighborhood Development: $28 Million Partnership with Citizens
and Citizens Bank recently announced a sweeping $28 million neighborhood
development initiative to upgrade housing, expand business opportunities
and bolster the working capacity of community-based organizations
in University City.
investment, which will stretch over five years, was announced
at a City Hall news conference. It will bring together a partnership
of University City institutions, neighborhood organizations and
nonprofit agencies to participate in a comprehensive strategy
for continuing the revitalization of this area.
initiative is a classic example of a project that will enhance
and improve the University City area," said Mayor John F.
Street. "I commend Citizens Bank and the University of Pennsylvania
for creating a longstanding, comprehensive plan to address the
concerns of the area and enhance housing and business opportunities," he
will have a significant impact on University City and the surrounding
areas by building on the improvements and investments made by
the University of Pennsylvania and neighborhood groups," said
Stephen D. Steinour, Chairman & CEO of Citizens. "Citizens
Bank is committed to making our neighborhoods a better place
to live and to creating jobs for residents," Mr. Steinour
Citizens Bank as a new partner in support of West Philadelphia
neighborhoods," said President Judith Rodin. "We look
forward to more affordable housing and small business development
during the coming five years as a result of this extraordinary
commitment, and I am grateful to Steve Steinour and his colleagues
for their vision and leadership."
Along with housing
and economic development, the initiative seeks to address vacant
or underused and unused properties that substantially contribute
to neighborhood blight, beautify the streetscapes and other infrastructure
at key entry points into University City and provide landscaping
and tree/plantings maintenance throughout major arteries in the
Bank and Penn officials
said the program would have the greatest impact, however, on
low- and moderate-income residents of University City, with nearly
half of the pledged funds designated for construction of new
housing and rehabilitation of existing dwellings; and on the
area's commercial corridors, with an equal amount earmarked for
economic development assistance.
will cover residents and businesses within the boundaries of
30th Street on the east; 52nd Street on the west, Haverford Avenue
on the north and the Schuylkill River on the east and south.
Penn and Citizens Bank will seek the participation of institutions
and community-based organizations in University City.
Under the initiative,
called the University City Neighborhood Improvement Program (UCNIP),
Citizens Bank will create a $10 million Citizens Neighborhood
Housing Development Fund that will be used to provide acquisition
and development financing to community groups for projects such
as the rehabilitation of vacant houses on the 4400 and 4500 blocks
of Sansom Street.
The program will
use $1.5 million to establish the Citizens Bank Land Acquisition
Pool, a fund to help community development corporations and other
nonprofit organizations acquire land and vacant property targeted
for future development at a low (2.5%) rate of return.
In addition to
the Citizens Neighborhood Housing Development Fund, the UCNIP
initiative will provide $5 million for mortgage loan allocation.
Called Citizens Neighborhood Plus Mortgage, the program will
provide up to 100 % financing at 1% below the market rate for
applicants living in low-income census tracts. Applicants who
reside in moderate-income census tracts and have incomes below
80% of the median family income would be eligible for a mortgage
rate at half % below market rate.
Another $1.5 million
has been designated for home improvement financing to qualified
applicants under the Citizens Bank Home Repair Program.
is welcome news for University City," said Councilwoman
Jannie Blackwell. "The partnership will help create the
financial backing needed for several neighborhood ventures that
my office has been supporting through our West Philadelphia
on the Move initiative," the Councilwoman stated.
initiative, Citizens Bank will help real citizens restore and
reinvigorate the community," said U.S. Representative Chaka
Fattah, whose district includes West Philadelphia. "I am
pleased to welcome Citizens Bank as a partner in our ongoing
effort to revitalize University City."
In an effort to
boost neighborhood commerce in University City, the initiative
allocates $10 million for Economic Development Investment, to
provide financing to qualified small businesses and owner-occupied
stores along the Lancaster Avenue and Baltimore Avenue commercial
corridors, as well as other commercial corridors in the neighborhood.
also provides $250,000 over five years for a Citizens Neighborhood
Partnership Fund, which will award grants to nonprofit organizations
in the collaborative for clean-and-green activities, public safety
initiatives, neighborhood planning, marketing, and community
development activities. The grants will range from $250 to $10,000,
will require at least 1:1 matching funds, and will be limited
to 501(c)(3) organizations based in and providing services to
residents within the University City boundaries.
The agreement also
includes a $50,000 UCD grant to help provide technical assistance
for small businesses within the targeted area.
about any of these programs, contact Citizens Bank; there is
a branch at 134 South 34th Street, (215) 662-0871.
Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 11, November 5, 2002