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Chestnut Hill- Mt. Airy Patch

Jake Speicher, September 24, 2013

Philadelphia Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger told a story at Tuesday’s annual Mt. Airy Business Improvement District Meeting. Every Saturday morning Greenberger has to pick up trash from the front of his house. He says that someone, he doesn’t know who, parks there late every Friday night. This mystery person consumes a meal, and then he deposits his trash on Greenberger’s lawn. This happens every week, and every week, he has to go out there and clean up. “A lot of people ask what they’re paying the BID to do,” Greenberger said.  “They are paying for what they can’t see.  They are paying so they don’t have to clean trash off their own lawn every Saturday morning.” The Mt. Airy Business Improvement District is a quasi-municipal authority that has taken ownership of the Germantown Avenue commercial corridor.

Local businesses and property owners pay an assessment fee to the BID and in return the BID takes on cleaning and beautification projects.

“Things are a lot better than they used to be,” said BID Board President and owner of the Trolley Car Diner Ken Weinstein.  “I remember when I used to have to show up 20 or 30 minutes early if I was showing a property to a potential new tenant just to clean up the trash.” Weinstein added, “I don’t have to do that anymore.” BID Executive Director Hollie Malamud-Price said that on average her street ambassadors’ pickups between 20-30 bags of garbage on Germantown Avenue a week.

“We make the commercial corridor more attractive to future business owners and potential customers,” Malamud-Price said.

Over the last year, Malamud-Price said that the BID has accomplished quite a few things including:

  • A Philadelphia Horticultural Society Grant to clean and maintain 50 vacant parcels between Washington and Gorgas Lanes on the east side of Germantown Avenue.
  • Increased revenue by 118 percent
  • Created a new park near the SEPTA depot in the 6700 block of Germantown Avenue.
  • Developed relationships with the Sheriffs Department.

“Running a small business is really hard work,” Greenberger said.  “The BID is your advocate.  What are you paying for? Advocacy.”