This is the second of a two-part look at revitalization in Frankford. You can read the first part here.
In the early 20th century, Frankford was a bustling neighborhood. With a growing middle-class population, it attracted residents from throughout the tri-state area, many of whom shopped at the popular businesses on Frankford Avenue.
In the 1950s, however, it lost a large amount of its population due to a great number of Philadelphians moving to the suburbs. White flight became a major problem in the 1970s and by 1990, more than 30 percent of the storefronts on Frankford Avenue were vacant, with more becoming vacant as the years went by.
Janice McDuffy, a former resident of Frankford for more than 11 years, witnessed Frankford’s downslide firsthand.
“When I lived there as a kid, it didn’t seem so dirty and there weren’t so many abandoned houses and businesses,” McDuffy said. “On the block where I used to live, there are now two empty lots that used to be homes. People dump their trash there.”
“All of Frankford is dirty and filled with litter . . . it’s a mess,” McDuffy said.
McDuffy said she quickly realized that there was a lack of economic opportunity in Frankford and moved out of the neighborhood after graduating from college, pursuing a law degree and an acting career. She said she hopes her family can move out of Frankford as quickly as possible.
“They [her family] couldn’t open a business in the future, if they wanted to . . . just look at all of the vacancies on Frankford Avenue,” McDuffy said.
“I don’t know why Frankford has deteriorated so drastically, but it’s a shame.”
Fortunately for McDuffy’s family and other Frankford residents, a few local organizations in Frankford are working to revitalize the neighborhood, including the PhillyRising Collaborative, the Frankford Special Services District and the Frankford Community Development Corporation. continue reading »