What began as one local’s personal garden has blossomed into one of Mantua’s more transformative community projects. According to Dan Eldridge on the Local Initiatives Support Corporation blog, the West Philly neighborhood will eventually enjoy its own biking and walking trail that connects to the Schuylkill Trail system. Upon reaching completion, the greenway is expected to have murals and art installations.
Eldridge writes the idea came about in 2011 when area resident Bessie Washington,”pointing to her garden as inspiration,” proposed giving a makeover to the overgrown path alongside Mantua Avenue to neighboring residents. In 2013, the William Penn Foundation endowed the project with $200,000 “for concept design and early stage planning,” followed by a sum of $150,000 from the state this past October.
This project combined with a number of revitalization grants (it was named one the country’s five Promise Zones and previously received a Choice Neighborhood planning grant) are efforts that will hopefully help put Mantua in a position to relive its better days. From the LISC blog:
In the 1950s and 60s, the triangle-shaped neighborhood, just north of Drexel University, enveloped some 200,000 residents and bustling commercial activity. Today, its population barely tops 8,300 and as of 2012, the median household income was just $19,150.
H/T: Mantua Greenway as part of neighborhood revitalization efforts [West Philly Local]