Is the new North Central district Temple’s version of University City? Here’s how they measure up

New Special Services District Aims to Transform Temple Neighborhood

The recent establishment of the North Central Special Services District (NCSSD) is set to enhance the quality of life in the North Philadelphia neighborhood surrounding Temple University. Unique to this area, new benefits will include improved street aesthetics and heightened public safety initiatives. In modeling the NCSSD after the successful University City District (UCD), the aim is to revitalize the local community and address specific challenges.

Originating in the late 1990s, the UCD was established in response to safety concerns and the deterioration of the West Philadelphia area near the University of Pennsylvania. This led to a successful transformation of the neighborhood, attracting more students and faculty. In contrast, Temple University is addressing the opposite issue, as an increasing number of students are moving into North Philadelphia, often leading to disturbances for long-time residents.

The NCSSD seeks to mitigate these challenges, improve community relations, and enhance the overall appeal of the neighborhood. The new district is also independent of the university’s plan to build a stadium, as emphasized by Temple officials. Furthermore, the NCSSD aims to promote workforce and educational opportunities to benefit all residents.

While the UCD covers a large area, the NCSSD is comparatively smaller. Despite differences in scale, the goals of both districts are similar – to create a more attractive and livable community. In terms of funding, the UCD received substantial financial backing, whereas the NCSSD has an initial budget of $500,000, primarily funded by Temple University.

Interestingly, the leadership of both districts differs significantly, and each has varying approaches to neighborhood enhancement. The UCD has a well-established and comprehensive set of programs and initiatives, including active trash removal, graffiti clean-up, and the introduction of new amenities like a movie theater, farmers markets, and free parking. On the other hand, the specific plans for the NCSSD are still evolving, with a focus on trash collection services and more robust enforcement of the Good Neighbor Policy.

While the UCD has encountered mixed reactions over the years, with concerns regarding gentrification and exclusion of community input, the benefits of the district are evident. It remains to be seen how the NCSSD will address potential challenges of gentrification, inclusion, and community development.

In conclusion, the establishment of the North Central Special Services District represents a significant step towards enhancing the North Philadelphia community and improving the quality of life for all residents. By drawing inspiration from the successes of the University City District, the NCSSD is poised to make a positive impact and address the unique needs of the area.

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