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July 16, 2015

Reading Terminal Market awarded $160,000 grant to transform Filbert Street

Reading Terminal Market Development
Reading Terminal Market Sign Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

Filbert Street, currently an underpass connecting 11th and 12th streets, was described by a market representative as "dark" and "dismal." Designs for a transformation will begin as part of a newly awarded grant.

Reading Terminal Market announced Thursday morning that it is one of 38 recipients of a national grant program that supports creative placemaking.

That $160,000 grant, issued by ArtPlace America, was awarded to Reading Terminal Market to transform and enliven Filbert Street, which runs adjacent to the market. The grant money will go toward the planning and design process to turn the public space into an outdoor area for events and performances. The initiative is headed by Reading Terminal Market but will include extensive input from stakeholders like SEPTA, the Pennsylvania Convention CenterPREIT, Center City District, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy and yet-to-be-specified art partners. 

Though the project was partly initiated to develop a more inviting entrance and event space for the market, a Reading Terminal Market representative told PhillyVoice that the ultimate goal of the project is community-driven.

"We want it to be generally more pleasant to be on that street -- better lit, nicer to look at, and we want people to feel more welcome," said Sarah Levitsky, events manager for the market. "Filbert Street is really at the center of things now, with so much happening in the neighborhood. We think it will improve life for everybody."

Levitsky added that the art element of the project is still being worked out, but that the idea of including installations -- whether permanent or temporary -- has been discussed.

The Filbert Street transformation is in line with what Reading Terminal Market General Manager Anuj Gupta told PhillyVoice in June, when he suggested that the market would benefit from limited closures of the street for events and having an outdoor space that eases market congestion. 

Reading Terminal Market was one of 1,300 applicants for the grant. Under grant conditions, planning for the transformation needs to be completed by the end of 2016.

Expect more details on the project to emerge in the months ahead.