Community leaders last week took a step to reinvigorate a block in a troubled section of Frankford.
The Frankford Community Development Corporation received a $54,610 state grant to stabilize 4663 Paul St., a three-story structure that was badly damaged in a fire more than a year ago.
In October 2018, a fire started inside the building, which was being used as an illegal boarding house, and spread to 4665 Paul St., which the CDC was in the process of renovating.
The CDC’s headquarters, the Daral building at 4667 Paul St., received smoke and water damage, forcing the group and the office of state Rep. Jason Dawkins to temporarily relocate.
They were able to move back in March and, this past fall, the CDC purchased 4663 Paul St.
Kimberly Washington, the organization’s executive director, said the goal is to eventually revitalize the entire Paul Street block, from Frankford Avenue to Meadow Street, as part of the CDC’s “Reimagining Margaret-Orthodox” initiative.
So far, the community group has turned a vacant lot near what is now known as Arrott Transportation Center into Frankford Pause Park, a bright pink public space. It has also rehabilitated the Daral building and helped improve the facade of a beer distributor on the block.
The goal is to convert 4663 and 4665 Paul St. into affordable housing, with commercial space on the ground floor. Washington said the hope is to have both projects complete sometime in 2021, with 4665 done by the end of this year.
“The project is really going to start to revitalize Frankford,” said state Sen. Christine Tartaglione, who presented a check to the CDC Jan. 14. “We’re doing it one building at a time.”
Tartaglione’s office said the grant was awarded through the Department of Community and Economic Development’s Local Share Account program, which is funded by fees on slot machines in the city.
The CDC continues to seek additional funding for the completion of the project. ••