Wishing you a very happy New Year! At the Tacony Community Development Corporation, 2023 meant big things for the neighborhood and for the Torresdale Avenue Business Corridor. As we look ahead to 2024, let’s celebrate some of the events, programs, and changes that helped us work towards our goal of a clean, green, and safe Tacony!
This year, we’re very pleased to welcome Xhulio Binjaku as our Executive Director. Using his experience in design and urban planning, as well as fundraising and project management, Xhulio is already hard at work collaborating with our partners to build up the Tacony community. So many people worked together this year to keep the Tacony Community Development Corporation running smoothly amidst some big changes. Most notably, Ashley de Vries spent much of 2023 as Interim Executive Director, acquiring grant funding and running events like the Tacony Third Thursdays. She has now returned to her position on our Board of Trustees, where she will continue to support from behind the scenes.
In early 2024 the Tacony Community Development Corporation will finalize our Five Year Strategic Plan. This will become the roadmap for future efforts toward the neighborhood’s revitalization and preservation. It builds on the success of the 2017-2022 strategic plan and our recent Market Analysis and Survey, which helped us better understand the needs and desires of our residents and businesses. For the next five years the Tacony CDC will be focusing on historic preservation, economic development, and urban design to integrate three crucial components that make our neighborhood great: the residents, the commercial corridor, and the waterfront.
In support of our efforts to maintain a clean and beautiful Tacony, this year we continued our partnership with Ready, Willing, and Able and their “Men in Blue,” who clean the Torresdale Avenue corridor regularly on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays as part of Philadelphia’s Taking Care of Business Program. Since last December, the returning citizens have picked up 3,745 bags of trash in the neighborhood! In addition, Tacony Community Development Corporation staff, as well as our friends and neighbors, continued working hard to address corridor maintenance issues like illegal dumping, graffiti, derelict buildings, and abandoned vehicles. We were also pleased to collaborate with businesses at seven locations to improve the design of Tacony’s storefronts. Including the Jack Costello Boxing Club, which has just had new lights installed on the building and in the parking lot; making it safer for folks to visit in evenings!
To promote a safe Tacony, we’ve been collaborating with our partners to plan and executive events throughout the year that encourage our friends and neighbors to get out and about! Throughout this Spring and Summer, the Tacony CDC hosted Tacony Third Thursdays; with live music, food trucks, and local vendors on the Third Thursday of every month, we saw more than a thousand people this year! We also supported the Tacony LAB Community Arts Center in their First Friday tradition; an effort to bring art and community to Tacony. In addition, Tacony honored our traditional Halloween celebration with the Fall for Tacony campaign; a series of events hosted by the CDC, the Tacony Library, and the Tacony LAB culminating in a Halloween themed Carnival and the annual Costume Contest. More recently, we partnered with CityReach Church and the Tacony LAB to organize the Tacony Winter Wander; a series of three events encouraging Tacony residents to wander the Torresdale Business Corridor and visit some of our key locations.
In addition to events, we promoted neighborhood safety this year by installing security cameras at eleven businesses and key locations throughout Tacony. Not only were these cameras provided to business owners at no cost, but they also include state of the art license plate readers and remote access for the officers of the 15th Police District. Tacony now has more than 200 security cameras, covering nearly the entire Torresdale Avenue Business Corridor and beyond! We also regularly attend Police Department and PDAC meetings, along with Tacony Civic Association members and other neighbors to give voice to the issues of Tacony.
At the Tacony Community Development Corporation, we’ve been hard at work building on the partnerships and events to promote the outdoors. Thanks to the work of the Riverfront North Partnership, The Circuit Trails, and other partners, the Tacony extension of the K&T Trail opened on August 10th. It connects the Tacony Boat Launch to Lardner’s Point Park and beyond and is bringing people to the shores of the Delaware for exercise and fresh air. Together with the Riverfront North Partnership, we’ll use 2024 as an opportunity to bring more folks out to the river with programming and walking tours. We’ve also been focusing on the beautification of the neighborhood and will be planting new locust trees along Torresdale Avenue and collaborating with the Historical Society of Tacony to clean up and beautify the garden at Tulip and Longshore. We’re also really excited to announce that we will be collaborating with students from Temple University in 2024 to prepare an environmental justice plan for Tacony! We’re looking forward to more opportunities to activate our parks and see our neighbors outdoors.
For the past three summers, we’ve been fortunate to receive funding from the William Penn Foundation to partner with the Tacony Library in hosting the Tacony Explorers Program. 2022 was the last year with funding for Tacony Explorers; we felt so lucky to wrap up this program with a bang and offer Literacy, STEM, and Enrichment services to 231 students. As this program comes to a close, the Tacony Community Development Corporation is committed to continuing our local partnerships to provide services to children and families in the area. We’re excited to announce new art programs coming up! In Spring, we’ll be hosting a series of Community Paint Days funded through the Philadelphia Activities Fund and Feet First Philly. Artist Mat Tomeszko will be running these programs to bring more public art to the Tacony neighborhood.
Tacony has always held a significant place in the making of Northeast Philadelphia’s history, and 2023 was no different. The historic and tragic collapse of the I-95 overpass this Summer was dutifully addressed by the efforts of our representatives; Council Member Mike Driscoll and State Representatives Joe Hohenstein, Jared Solomon and Pat Gallagher. With more than nine miles of I-95 closed, Tacony’s businesses found themselves battling an unexpected difficulty. Together with The Merchants Fund and local businesses, the Tacony CDC worked to bring over $135,000 in emergency grant funding to businesses heavily impacted by the disaster. Those who benefited included Curran’s, Nicoletti Beverage, Niambiance and Awesome Little Cupcakes. With extra funding, they were able to stay afloat despite the significant decrease in travel to Tacony.
With 2023 coming to a close, we look forward to what’s next for the Tacony neighborhood and feel lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful neighbors, businesses, and organizations. Thank you to everyone who has given their time and effort to promote the interests of Tacony, and Happy New Year!
Find out about our ongoing projects and the brand new ones coming in 2024 on our website and social media. To participate in one of our programs, get assistance for your local business, or talk about the changes you’d like to see in the neighborhood, contact the Tacony Community Development Corporation by phone at 267-276-2586 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.