The Northern Liberties Neighbors Association has received the largest grant in its 40-year history. This month the Penn Treaty Special Services District (PTSSD) announced that it was awarding NLNA $178,000 for capital improvements to the neighborhood community center located on N 3rd St. and Fairmount Avenue.
According to NLNA Board President Matt Ruben, the PTSSD grant will enable the NLNA to “create a safe, inviting, economically sustainable community center that will serve as a model for the neighborhood and the city. We will enhance the attractiveness, quality and flexibility of our indoor and outdoor spaces to ensure the long-term safety and functionality of the building and grounds.”
Rick Angeli, chairman of the Penn Treaty Special Services District said, “The grant for the expansion and repair of the NLNA Community Center will be a huge benefit to the Northern Liberties community for years to come. The PTSSD board was extremely impressed with the overall plan as presented.”
The Penn Treaty grant will be awarded in two phases — $100,000 immediately and $78,000 later this year — and will enable the NLNA to achieve four main objectives:
Create a Model Outdoor Gathering Space – With design expertise donated by Northern Liberties-based architecture firm Kieran Timberlake, the NLNA’s 4,000 square foot yard will be transformed into an environmentally friendly outdoor space featuring new landscaping, permeable surfaces and a striking permanent pavilion; with these improvements we will significantly increase our capacity to host community educational, recreational and social activities and events.
Open New Indoor Space to the Community – The community center basement will be renovated to create separate meeting/event and storage spaces; a new bathroom will be added along with improved lighting, ventilation and food storage. Taken together, these improvements will nearly double our indoor activity and event space.
Improve and Enhance Existing Indoor Space – The main meeting/event space on the first floor will be refurbished to improve capacity and usability; worn and wrong-sized furnishings will be replaced and needed repairs to the walls and window seats will be made.
Secure the Building’s Future by Completing Exterior Repairs – Damaged and missing bricks, sills and lintels will be repaired or replaced as necessary, as will loose mortar, worn caulking and cracked stucco.
The NLNA’s grant proposal was put together by a team of volunteers from the neighborhood. Work has already begun on the building’s interior and the entire project is expected to be completed within one year.