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TOWN CENTER REVITALIZATION STRATEGY

Swarthmore, PA 

The Borough of Swarthmore retained Urban Partners to prepare a revitalization strategy for Swarthmore Town Center, the traditional pedestrian-oriented commercial district that has historically housed a variety of retail, commercial, government and residential uses serving the 6,200 resident borough. The Town Center is adjacent to the campus of Swarthmore College and a SEPTA regional rail station. 

Urban Partners worked with a Town Center Task Force composed of a broad array of individual, institutional and organizational interests and directed an extensive community involvement process to develop a vision and identify alternative development strategies for overall revitalization of the Town Center. The preferred revitalization strategy, which was presented at numerous public meetings for review and adopted by Swarthmore Borough Council, includes 34 elements which include construction of a 65-room inn, expansion of the Co-op grocery store, extension of Lafayette Avenue to provide better access to customer parking, completion of streetscape improvements, establishment of a technical assistance network for merchants and extension of the parking permit program for nearby residential areas.

Subsequently, Urban Partners was retained by Swarthmore to guide the implementation of key elements of the Revitalization Strategy. Businesses within the Town Center agreed to additional assessments which financed desired streetscape improvements and, with our assistance in drafting the application, the Borough secured an additional $850,000 in TEA-21 funding for streetscape and circulation improvements linked to its regional rail station, which have also been completed.  The expanded Co-op market has been constructed and is functioning profitably and the Lafayette Street extension that improves Town Center circulation is complete. A zoning overlay district has been created for the hotel site and Swarthmore College began construction of the inn and a roundabout to improve traffic flow through the district in Fall 2014 and the inn opened in 2016. 

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Client: Borough of Swarthmore, PA