State Rep. Jared Solomon last week joined community and business leaders for the announcement of a $70,000 donation to Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association from tax credits approved by the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Neighborhood Assistance Program.
The announcement was made at The Exchange at Oxford Circle, a thrift store that opened last August at Castor Avenue and Hellerman Street.
Among those on hand were officials with M&T Bank, Univest and Kinder Academy, businesses that made the donations and received a tax credit.
Solomon said he reached out to a lot of businesses, and M&T, Univest and Kinder made the commitment. He described the funding as “great news in Northeast Philadelphia.”
The lawmaker said a business corridor needs anchor properties, adding that The Exchange is one of them. He believes the best days for Castor Gardens and Oxford Circle are ahead of them.
Pearl Wang-Herrera, executive director of the OCCCDA, said the money will be used for social services, such as home ownership workshops and exploring jobs for immigrants; a contribution to the playground coming to Laura H. Carnell Elementary School; BigBelly trash cans on commercial corridors; and what Solomon believes will be a “phenomenal” banner program on Castor, Cottman, Rising Sun and Bustleton avenues. The banners are still in the design phase.
Solomon said Castor Avenue is already filled with restaurants offering a diverse ethnic cuisine.
Soon, an education center will be coming to Castor Avenue and Wellington Street, offering GED services, college credits and career assistance. After some initial misgivings by the Rhawnhurst Civic Association, People Acting To Help (PATH) will be moving to the old Firstrust Bank at Castor and Cottman avenues. And the 2nd Police District will be moving to the old TruMark Financial Credit Union at 7306 Castor Ave.
“Castor Avenue is moving in the right direction,” Solomon said. ••