The Callowhill Neighborhood Association, which worked with business leaders for over a year to create a business improvement district, conceded Thursday that it had failed to secure enough support.
The group and officers of development company Arts & Crafts Holdings, which owns several properties in the area, had been the biggest supporters of the district, which was planned generally for Vine Street to Spring Garden Street, and the Rail Park to Broad Street.
Sarah McEneaney, an artist who is president of the Callowhill group, was not immediately available to comment Thursday evening.
As proposed, the Callowhill BID would have collected from all property owners within its borders an assessment — some say a tax — to clean streets, fight illegal dumping, and add lighting at night.
But some residents saw the proposal as a way to provide support for a real estate holding firm that has invested heavily in the Callowhill and Spring Garden areas in the last four years, and to provide maintenance for the Rail Park, which opened more than a year ago on the Reading Co. viaduct that crisscrosses the neighborhood.
Under the plan, there would have been a surcharge above property taxes: a 0.12% assessment on commercial properties and a 0.06% assessment on residential properties.
Property owners who opposed paying an additional assessment had to submit letters to both the Chief Clerk at Philadelphia City Council and the Callowhill BID. The opposition had to comprise at least one-third of commercial property owners or one-third of the assessed property value for the plan to be defeated.
On Aug. 30, opponents declared they had won, saying that out of 214 properties, there were 99 owners who opposed the formation of the BID.
The city’s chief clerk, Michael A. Decker, wrote to City Councilman Mark Squilla in a letter: “I feel that the BID cannot proceed.”
Earlier in the week, the councilman offered the BID’s supporters a chance to go over the numbers. “They said it wasn’t necessary," said Sean McMonagle, the councilman’s legislative assistant.
In an email sent Thursday morning to its members, the neighborhood association conceded defeat, but wrote, “Nevertheless we persist!” and asked members to attend its annual fall cleanup.