Isaacson, Cruz tout $1.5M state funding for Kensington Avenue improvements

HARRISBURG, April 26 – State grant funding for $1.5 million will help build improvements along Kensington Avenue in Philadelphia, state Reps. Mary Isaacson and Angel Cruz, both D-Phila., said today.

The New Kensington Community Development Corporation was awarded $1.5 million in state funding to build out Kensington Avenue with spaces for outdoor programming, plazas for artists and entrepreneurs, and an access point to the future Richmond Industrial Trail.

“For far too long, the Kensington neighborhood has been ignored and left to address daily quality-of-life issues on their own," Isaacson said. "This vital funding will invest in the neighbors and residents by revitalizing vacant lots and turning them into areas of recreation and community gathering, while also connecting them to green spaces. I am proud of the incredible work that NKCDC does every single day for all of us and honored to work with them.”

“This money will help bring artist, entrepreneurs and the community together to provide a safe space to live, work, play and provide much needed access for residents to the forthcoming Richmond Industrial Trail,” Cruz said. “I am both happy and proud to have helped secure this grant to bring about change along Kensington Avenue.”

Specifically, this project funding will help acquire eight properties in a 0.75-mile stretch of Kensington Avenue and transform them into avenue “anchors."

"This RACP grant will allow NKCDC to take advantage of an unprecedented opportunity to acquire and renovate vacant and blighted properties so they can serve residents – for community gardens, safe spaces for children, community engagement and small business development,” NKCDC Executive Director Dr. Bill McKinney said. “This critically needed funding will leverage other investments, helping make Kensington Avenue safer and helping us bring other partners to Kensington to join in our work. We are deeply grateful to the state for being a partner in addressing the decades of disinvestment and challenges facing Kensington."

The funding, through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, will support critical expansion projects, provide opportunities for job creation and employment training, and community development and revitalization.