Turning trash into treasure only happens on HGTV, right?
Elisabeth Garson, a South Philadelphia copywriter, saw potential for the otherwise vast waste of land at the corner of Broad Street and Washington Ave. At a Sept. 17 meeting with the South Broad Street Neighbors Association, Garson successfully rallied for her vision: The Philadelphia Arts Market.
“I’ve always thought there could be so much more done with that space,” Garson said. “I walk by that space almost every single day of my life and every time I look at it I just think it’s a completely wasted space. It would be so easy to convert not only into a flea market but into this kind of interactive art space that I have always imagined.”
The lot, which is not a city-owned property, is owned by Hudson Capital Group. Garson is currently in talks with the agency to renovate the area from an eyesore into an outdoor flea market and musical performance space.
“The supporters are loud,” said Garson. “In terms of local businesses, there were a few at the meeting the other night and they were very into and very supportive.”
Steve Cobb, the legislation director for Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, has met with Garson to discuss the proposal a few times.
“A lot of the community members are definitely seeing it as a positive thing for the neighborhood. So at this point, the question’s always details. We’re talking to a few different agencies to see what it would take, the question’s always in the details from this point,” Cobb said.
Cobb added Councilman Johnson is waiting to hear feedback from the Hawthorne Empowerment Coalition meeting to evaluate how this site may benefit the community before taking a position on the proposal.
Garson is scheduled to present her proposal to the Hawthorne Community at a meeting Oct. 9, 2013. If the next series of meetings yield approval and plans are executed properly, the Philadelphia Arts Market will run March 2014 through Sept. 2014.
If you are interested in making the Philadelphia Arts Market a reality, sign the proposal petition here.