West Philadelphia Community Center
Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships to Expand with Drexel Purchase of West Philadelphia Community Center
During the past year, the Caring People Alliance, owners of the West Philadelphia Community Center building, put the building up for sale, and Drexel moved to purchase the site in order to preserve the space as a community resource. Drexel has launched a community planning process to plan for programming in the site, to become a part of the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships. Once a plan is in place, Drexel will initiate a fundraising process to support a renovation of the building.
The Community Planning Process
Drexel has been engaging with community leaders and residents from Mantua, Powelton Village, and throughout West Philadelphia as well as with internal stakeholders though a community planning process to develop a shared vision for the facility.
At all of our community meetings, we asked the following questions:
- What has the West Philadelphia Community Center meant to you?
- What would you like the space to look like?
- What kinds of programs would you like to see here in the future?
Summer 2018: meetings with community leaders and Drexel stakeholders.
- Community leaders and Drexel University partners were invited to collaboratively develop an inclusive community outreach and planning process for the future of the WPCC site as an extension of the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.
- Four meetings were held on July 26, July 28, August 13, August 14, 2018.
- Participants discussed how to conduct an inclusive community outreach and planning process for the future of the WPCC site as an extension of the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships.
- The ideas generated at these initial meetings were used to guide open meetings during the fall.Fall 2018: meetings with community residents and stakeholder groups as well as internal Drexel units that would be involved in programming
Fall 2018: meetings with community residents, community stakeholder groups, and internal Drexel departments and colleges that would becoming involved in programming
- September 22: Community Open House at WPCC on September 22
- September 27: Call to Action community meeting at WPCC
- November 17: Ideas and inspiration bus tour to Strawberry Mansion PAL, West Philadelphia YMCA, and Drexel’s ExCITE Center
- Throughout November: small group stakeholder meetings with Lancaster Avenue 21stCentury Business Association, Action for Early Learning and PEC Family Navigators, Mantua young men, and McMichael 5th, 6th, and 7thgrade students
- Throughout the fall: conversations with Drexel colleges and units including the College of Arts & Sciences, College of Nursing & Health Professions, Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, ExCITE Center, Center for Culinary Arts & Hospitality Management, and Drexel Recreation Center
Dornsife Center staff attend local community meetings to share information, give updates, and gather input. We regularly attend the following meetings to keep neighbors up to date:
- Mantua Civic Association
- Powelton Village Civic Association
- 16thDistrict Police Department Captains Meeting
- Promise Neighborhood Public Safety Committee Meeting
- PEC Neighborhood Advisory Subcommittee Meeting
- PEC Men’s Coffee Talk
Fundraising for renovations
Drexel will need to fundraise to make any necessary renovations to the WPCC building, and the fundraising process will begin once there is a stakeholder-informed plan in place. Renovation of the building will start once fundraising goals have been met, and the site will re-open as an extension of the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships once the renovations are complete.