Upper Darby Officials Lead Revitalization Effort

Upper Darby Officials Lead Revitalization Effort

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Upper Darby, Pa.-Upper Darby officials are leading a major push to revitalize the once booming 69th street corridor.

Fox 29 sat down with their mayor for a look at the progress.

69th street was once a destination for shoppers.

By the 70s, Upper Darby Mayor Thomas Micozzie said those dollars started going elsewhere.

"People don't go anywhere unless they feel safe, and people don't like to go places unless its new and its trendy,” he said.

So Micozzie is rallying developers to bring those retail dollars back to his township.

The township doesn't have a lot of money to give to potential businesses, but are using other methods to attract big name stores.

"The only thing we can do is assist development by having a welcoming community that when they walk through the door, they're welcome,” he said.

Micozzie said these new stores will bring more tax dollars to the town.

Major clothing stores H & M, Burlington Coat Factory and Ross have moved into the corridor in the past three years.

The next big fish they're hoping to reel in will fill the void where the Sears once sat at the top of the hill.

"We're working with the Sears site to tear it down, use the outside perimeter use the existing parking to put a large supermarket, a drug store and a fitness center,” Micozzie said.

In between, smaller shops like Five Points Coffee hope to bring life to a culturally diverse area.

"We're already seeing an increase of business around here and we're excited to be at this level, kind of coming in at the ground level on what seems to be a big economic upswing here,” owner Steve Bowman said.

The infusion of money into 69th street also comes as welcome news for the historic Tower Theatre.

"A lot of different type of fans that would not normally come to Upper Darby, we're seeing that come through our doors,” theatre general manager Jason Bray said.

Micozzie said the township is also working with SEPTA on major renovations at the 69th Street Transportation Center.

That new look could be unveiled as early as the summer of 2016.

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