For years, the Viola Street Residents Association (VSRA) has worked to improve their neighborhood, organizing block clean-up days, maintaining a thriving community garden, and advocating for the reinvestment in their blocks and the surrounding area.
Last year, we collaborated with VSRA on Project Reclaim, a master plan for revitalizing the 4200 block of Viola Street and the surrounding streets. The master plan laid out a blueprint for addressing a few clusters of distressed or vacant properties and beautifying the streetscape, all while maintaining historical authenticity. This summer, a partnership with Habitat for Humanity will help VSRA take some next steps in bringing that vision to life.
Joyce Smith, Community Development Coordinator of VSRA, writes, “Habitat for Humanity and resident volunteers will work on façade improvements on the 4100 and 4200 blocks of Viola Street [a structure on North 42nd Street will receive improvements too]. Part of that period we will block the streets off to allow Habitat for Humanity volunteers and residents to work their magic! The work will begin around June 16th and completed around July 31st.”
Habitat for Humanity and VSRA’s Garden and Beautification Committee will also collaborate on landscaping vacant lots and replacing sidewalks, in addition to an overall Block Cleaning. Finally, residents will participate in window preservation training, and will then work to restore original windows in the historic homes designated for repair.
Habitat for Humanity is partnering with the Preservation Alliance of Greater Philadelphia and staff from the University of Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation program on its Viola Street work.
Joyce notes, “Needless to say, our Collaborative design continues to serve as our inspiration.”
We wish Viola Street the best of luck this summer as they take these steps to make their vision a reality!