The 300 locally-owned businesses that line Frankford Avenue in Mayfair have been granted an opportunity to invigorate and improve their community.
Although congested with outdated shops and mini-malls, community members have viewed Frankford Avenue as a hub of Mayfair, packed with mass business-appeal and potential.
They claim that Frankford Avenue is overdue for structural and storefront improvement.
In August, the City of Philadelphia awarded the Mayfair Community Development Corporation a $20,000 grant toward building a business improvement district for Frankford Avenue. The funds are to be put exclusively toward improving the avenue, in hopes of uplifting and attracting business through storefront renovations and cleanup.
Established in 2009, the Mayfair Community Development Corporation functions solely to develop the Mayfair community through commerce and business opportunities. The business improvement district resulted as an effort to take advantage of this condensed stretch of street and is an important fragment of the Mayfair Community Development Corporation.
Currently in it’s infancy, the business improvement district will stretch from Harbison Avenue to Sheffield Avenue and will require 51 percent of property owners to comply with future improvement plans.
Joe DeFelice, the former chairman of the Mayfair Civic Association, views the business improvement district as an opportunity that will reinvigorate the community as a whole.
“We feel that our residential community is still in really good shape,” he said. “Our mindset is, if we try to reinvest in Frankford Avenue and support the good local businesses that are here, we can build on that. The business improvement district will not only clean the avenue but it will also make Mayfair a little more pedestrian-friendly. It will create new things to attract new people and new businesses.”
Members of the Mayfair community who live in close proximity to Frankford Avenue agree that the business improvement district is an important step for the area.
“Frankford Avenue does currently contribute to the community,” said Maura O’Connell, who has lived along Frankford Avenue for 32 years. “It provides families with a sense of community when we go out to pick up a pizza at Gino’s or breakfast after Sunday mass at the Mayfair Diner. New businesses would strengthen the community because it might bring in a new demographic into the community.”
Younger Mayfair residents also feel that Frankford Avenue must have updates to attract a younger demographic.
Sara McGilloway, a 22-year old college student, would like to see more useful businesses along the avenue that what currently exists.
“I feel that there are far too many cash checking businesses, pharmacies and nail salons,” said McGilloway.
There is still a great deal of work to be done. In order for the business improvement district to remain present and effective on Frankford Avenue, there must be continued support from the community, DeFelice said.