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Streetscape Project in Bradford a Boost for Economic Development

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Elm Street Program

Targeted Neighborhood Improvements

In 2006, the City of Bradford was designated an “Elm Street” community whereby it received recognition in terms of receiving priority opportunity for state funding to undertake improvements to revitalize neighborhoods supporting the downtown historic district. Since that time, the City’s Office of Economic and Community Development has secured over $12 million in local, private, state and federal funding sources to undertake holistic improvements in two locally designated neighborhoods (see neighborhood improvement area map). Targeted neighborhood investments are designed to improve the overall quality of life for residents through the improvement of housing and infrastructure and creating a “safe place” to live; improve the housing and commercial tax base and create an inviting place to attract new residents and business owners to invest.

Improvements in both neighborhoods include:
• Blight removal through the acquisition and demolition of blighted properties and address blighting conditions through property maintenance.
• Rehabilitation of existing housing stock through extensive rehabilitation of owner-occupied units and the offering of match funding for exterior facade improvements for all property owners.
• Construction of new housing to attract moderate income homebuyers, provide new housing in the community and increase the housing tax base.
• Improve the condition of the streets and make the neighborhoods safe and walkable to the downtown core and the Tuna Valley trail system through the replacement of sidewalks, curbs, ADA ramps, decorative crosswalks and street lighting.
• Offer down-payment and closing cost assistance to encourage homeownership in the neighborhood.
• Involve the residents through the development of community gardens and pocket parks and hold neighborhood events such as a clean-up day, National Night Out and committee work under Elm Street Program initiatives.

Over $7.284 million was expended from 2007 to 2015 in the “Project Pride Neighborhood”, which is located to the north of the City from School Street to Barbour Street and Charlotte Avenue to North Bennett Street for neighborhood revitalization improvements.

In 2013, with the inception of the Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP), the Office of Economic and Community Development partnered with the non-profit Downtown Bradford Revitalization Corporation and three private business partners, American Refining Group, Northwest Bank and Zippo Manufacturing Company, who were willing to invest in the revitalization of a second City neighborhood called the “Second Ward Neighborhood Revitalization Area (SWN)”. Over the first six years of the NPP, three private funding partners have invested $1.7 million, which has generated over $3.5 million in other local, private and state funding to undertake improvements in the neighborhood located to the south of the City’s downtown business district. Improvement work is continuing in the SWN, with the following underway for 2019:
• Construction of two new homes on Congress Place.
• Completion of streetscape improvements on Congress Place.
• Opening of new microbrewery call the “Brew Station” at 104 Chestnut Street.
• Streetscape improvements on Elm Street, Congress Street and Park Street.
• Substantial renovation will start on a large commercial/residential building at 99-101 Congress Place.
• Engineering design for 2020 streetscape improvements on Jefferson Street and Thompson Avenue.
• Continuation of matching facade improvement and housing rehabilitation program.
• Continue to enforce housing codes through City’s Property Maintenance Department.
• Neighborhood events.