Present at a ceremonial check presentation were (from left) Charles Richardson, director of constituent services for Councilwoman Cindy Bass’s Office, Richard Snowden, Managing partner of Bowman Properties, Anne Standish, director of development at Woodmere Art Museum, State Senator Art Haywood, Kate O’Neil of the Chestnut Hill Business District, Phil Dawson, CHBD executive director, Cache Hall, of the Chestnut Hill Business District, Voltaire Blain, owner of Style by Blain, and Paul Walsh, president of Elfant Wissahickon Realtors. (Photo by Sue Ann Rybak)

by Sue Ann Rybak

The Chestnut Hill Business District has received a $225,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community Development and Economic Development Multimodal Transportation Fund for its Pedestrian Lighting Project.

State Sen. Art Haywood presented the check to Philip Dawson, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Business District, on June 6 at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services and Fox & Roach Realtors at 8400 Germantown Ave.

“Chestnut Hill has a dynamic business district,” Haywood said. “I come here to shop; my wife comes here to shop, as well as to go to restaurants. Having appropriate street lighting is more than just an attraction, it also improves safety because good lighting is something that discourages crime. So, I am glad to support this community improvement project.”

Dawson said the project will replace 188 pedestrian light fixtures along the commercial corridor – Germantown Avenue from Cresheim Valley Road to Rex Avenue and Bethlehem Pike from Germantown Avenue to Chestnut Hill Avenue – and will cost roughly $4.5 million.

“Chestnut Hill is known as one of Philadelphia’s most distinctive neighborhoods, and as, a major shopping and dining destination attracting over 300,000 visitors a year,” Dawson said. “However, we do have a significant streetscape issue, which is the state of our pedestrian lamp posts. There is no better place to observe it then here, where the lamppost is leaning over. There are dozens of lampposts along the avenue which are no longer safe, fully functional or an asset to Chestnut Hill’s historic streetscape.

“Public lighting supports economic growth by increasing the amount of time that people can spend on dining and entertainment after dark. Our business corridor is a key destination for shoppers to ‘buy local,’ and this project will help keep our community thriving.”

Dawson added that without Haywood’s support, the Chestnut Hill Business District would not have been eligible for the grant.

“Senator Haywood was really instrumental in getting us to this point because we had recently lost a former grant application, and the city and the state would not have been willing to consider this reapplication without the strong support of our local legislator.”

He said that thanks to Haywood’s support, the CHBD has half the funds required to complete the project. He noted that while there is still more fundraising to do, “getting to the halfway point” allows them to “begin to talk about phase implementation to get the project moving, so people can start to see the benefits of it.”

“And also, it puts us in a stronger place to fill the gap for what is needed to complete the project,” he said.

Patrick Gallagher, associate broker, Fox & Roach Realtors, said he appreciates Dawson and other members of CHBD, who have worked “so hard to continue maintaining the wonderful environment of the business district,” not only the beautification of the avenue, but increasing safety along the commercial corridor by maintaining adequate lighting on the Avenue.

Sue Ann Rybak can be reached at 215-248-8804 or sueann@chestnuthilllocal.com

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