IN JANUARY, I introduced legislation that, if enacted, will bring into existence the North Central Neighborhood Improvement District (NID).
The record of accomplishments of neighborhood (or business) improvement districts in Philadelphia is impressive.
From streetscape improvements to enhanced cleanliness to safer streets, these districts have revitalized neighborhoods in concrete ways by supplementing, not replacing, services provided by municipal government.
The grandfather of them all is the Center City Special Services District, nationally renowned for its role in rejuvenating the core of Philadelphia. The East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District, the Roxborough Business Improvement District and the Mount Airy Business Improvement District also carefully invest resources from their respective communities into those same communities.
The North Central NID could do the same for the area around Temple University, generally bounded by Girard Avenue, York Street, Carlisle Street and 19th Street, with a few additional small areas east of Broad Street.
This NID is unique in that it will be funded by an assessment on landlords, many of whom house students. All owner-occupied single-family residents will be exempt. I emphasize this fact because of the misinformation disseminated about this.
It was anticipated from the beginning of this process that the community would have a meaningful and substantial voice on the board of the NID. To ensure clarity, I am offering an amendment that guarantees the community the same number of board members as the landlords being assessed. And as a representative of the district, I will have a designee.
Funds paid to the NID will be solely dedicated to improving the basic quality of life for all those who live and work within the area. Improvements in just the first year will include cleaning of sidewalks, vacant lots and alleys; security measures, including surveillance cameras and safety ambassador patrols; streetscape enhancements; and the promotion of special events.
Despite these sorely needed benefits, the North Central NID will fail if 51 percent or more of the landlords who would have to pay for the NID write to oppose it. I hope all those who live and work within the proposed North Central NID will recognize the extraordinary promise it offers.
Darrell L. Clarke