Clean Air Council and Feet First Philly, in partnership with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, are pleased to announce the recipients of our first pedestrian enhancement mini-grants. The chosen projects represent seven distinct neighborhoods located in historically marginalized communities. Each project will receive between $1,000-$2,000 to implement a public benefit project that addresses barriers to walking and rolling. Here is a list of the grant recipients and their projects.

Chew and Chelten CDC/RCO plan to revamp an unoccupied newsstand with a community informed mural painted by a local artist Serafina Harris. The mural will exhibit, “images of positive and daring young black men and women stepping into a better future.” Using bright colors the unused newsstand will transform the corner of Chew and Chelten Avenues with the aim to “rouse community engagement and creative dialogue between neighbors and strangers alike.”

Hunting Park Community Garden spans 11,000 square feet and includes herbs, vegetables, flowers, and berries. The community garden mini-grant funding will support a partnership with the Free Library of Philadelphia and Lenfest Center to hold classes and workshops in the garden for children and adults. Funding will be used to create an outdoor community space that includes tables, chairs, and a summer misting fan.

Kensington Neighborhood Association has worked for almost 10 years to establish a community garden that hosts 60+ gardeners who grow fruits and vegetables for the surrounding community. This safe space has hosted city social services and fundraised for local organizations and will now be more accessible than ever. The Association plans to demolish and repour a concrete sidewalk to create an “access point for any interested gardeners to come and enjoy the garden space.”

Cobbs Creek Trail

Cobbs Creek Ambassador Program is an ambitious pilot program to combat systemic maintenance issues along Cobbs Creek Trail in West Philadelphia. The project will engage volunteers to “adopt sections of the park to clean up according to their own regular schedule and with their own team,” creating a model of hyper-local resident led stewardship with a low barrier to entry. Funding will go to “ambassador startup kits” that include cleanup essentials like, trash bags, gloves, shovels, rakes, brooms, and trash cans. This project will recruit four new ambassadors by the end of year who will each adopt a short section of the trail and lead five or more residents on their local clean up projects.

Village Arts and Humanities, located in the Fairhill-Hartranft section of Philadelphia, received funding to install a creative art crosswalk. Village Arts looks at this funding as an, “opportunity [to] engage neighbors in a process to design and create a crosswalk that aligns with the vibrant arts and culture aesthetic of the community.” Artistic crosswalks have the potential to not only reinforce a sense of place in a community, but also increase the visibility of this pedestrian space, enhancing walkability along a commercial corridor. 

The Enterprise Center CDC in collaboration with Blackwell Regional Library in West Philadelphia will use mini-grant funds for a parklet project on 52nd Street. A parklet takes back one to two vehicle parking spaces and uses that space for pedestrian amenities. This project will “mix both fixed and removable seating, greenery, and public art,” while “serving both as an active space with library programming as well as a passive space for library patrons and community members to safely spend time.”

Centennial East Parkside CDC working with WeWalkPHL will survey residents to identify both physical and social barriers faced when using the pedestrian environment, specifically when accessing West Fairmount Park from the Parkside neighborhood. The CDC plans to conduct the survey during their Juneteenth celebration to “assess the neighborhood’s walkability, photograph and document problem areas, and brainstorm creative approaches.”

All of the selected projects promote walking as a public benefit and have the potential to increase community health outcomes. Clean Air Council and Feet First Philly see each of these unique projects as an opportunity to improve the lives of pedestrians and be the catalyst for future conversations on how to meet the needs of everyone who walks or rolls in these communities.