Old York Road Community Organization

Photo by Zach Kassutto

In March 2011, the University of Pennsylvania’s Fels Institute of Government was selected to develop a realistic revitalization plan for a coalition of seven synagogues along Pennsylvania’s Old York Road, as it crosses through the Cheltenham, Abington and Jenkintown townships. 

After months of planning, research, and community initiatives, the resulting effort formed the basis for the Old York Road Community Organization, a new community group committed to three main principles:

  • Building the area’s population; 
  • Growing community organization; and 
  • Fostering more local business in the neighborhoods along Old York Road.

The Old York Road Community Organization will hold a kick-off event in the spring of 2012 to present the details of the plan, outline the group’s upcoming activities and engage community participation. Check back for more information soon.

The final plan and recommendations can be viewed here: Old York Road Community Organization Final Plan.

Overview of Plan Objectives: 

  • Goals & Priorities: Identifying the types of development that are likely to have the greatest impact on revitalizing the area
  • Strategies & Tactics: Suggesting effective ways for making those developments a reality
  • Marketing & Branding: Developing a marketing strategy that will raise the image of the neighborhood and increase interest in moving there
  • Measuring Success: Establishing measures that can be used to assess the success and impact of the group in implementing the plan and revitalizing the neighborhood
  • Organizational Structure: Recommending an organizational structure for the group that will lead implementation of the resulting plan

Overview of Project Activities:

  • Held focus groups, interviews and community engagement sessions: To establish the principles, values, direction, and vision for the neighborhood Fels used focus groups, interviews and community engagement sessions exploring topics that include -- What does the community aspire to be? Who does it seek to attract? What does it have to offer? What is its character? What challenges does it face? 
  • Researched revitalization promising practices and conducted a survey of existing plans and efforts occurring along the Corridor: To identify noteworthy revitalization strategies and ideas that could be adapted for the Old York Road Corridor. 
  • Developed comprehensive plan: That synthesizes findings into a comprehensive, realistic roadmap that incorporates the aforementioned elements. 

The Old York Road Community Organization represents Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jewish Congregations whose membership reside primarily in Cheltenham, Abington, Jenkintown and Lower Moreland Townships, as well as other surrounding areas. The project was funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.

Video by Hadi Khan

For more information on this project, please contact Lauren Hirshon at lhirshon@upenn.edu or (215) 746-6444.