November 2022 Member Spotlight: North 5th Street Revitalization Project

N5SRP’s mission is to manage, promote, and revitalize North 5th Street in Olney as a thriving commercial district for area shoppers, residents and visitors. N5SRP was founded by Olney residents and merchants in 2005 as a focused reinvestment toward North 5th Street’s primary commercial hub, located at 5th and Olney Avenue. In 2008, N5SRP hired a full-time Corridor Manager and Sanitation Specialist with generous funding from the Philadelphia Commerce Department. They have since grown to a full-time staff of three and part-time staff of three and expanded their service area to include North 5th Street from Roosevelt Boulevard (4800) to Spencer Street (6000)

PACDC spoke with Stephanie Michel, Director of the North 5th Street Revitalization Project (N5SRP)

Tell us about how you got your start at N5SRP:

I got started with N5SRP as an Americorps Vista. After graduating college and teaching for a year, I was looking to get into nonprofit work. I saw the listing on Americorp for a Program Coordinator and N5SRP. I didn’t really understand what I was going to be doing but I was excited at the opportunity to work in my old stomping grounds and do community work.

What do you love most about the work you and your colleagues do?

I love that we are doing fun transformative work in a neighborhood that often gets dismissed or disregarded. We get to be a part of making a meaningful impact in a beautiful community. My colleagues are passionate people who truly care about making Olney shine. I love the relationships and bonds we form with business owners and community members. I love watching neighborhood interactions and growth.

What would you like young people and others in the community to know about this program?

I would like for young people and others in the community to know that this program is for them.The work that we do is to be an example of what they can do to improve and maintain this beautiful neighborhood. I would like for young people to get excited about the neighborhood and to know that it’s okay to be prideful about being from Olney. I want them to know we need their help and that we can’t do this program without them.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to enter into the type of work and programming you do?

Enter with ease and humility, be quick to listen and slow to speak. This work can swoop you up if you let it, especially if you care and are passionate about the community you serve. Understand that this work will challenge you and offer new opportunities for growth personally and professionally. However to stay in this work you need to incorporate rest and boundaries into your work plan.

What’s on the horizon for N5SRP? What are you excited about in the future?

We are expanding to Broad and Olney and are getting ready to do exciting projects in that business district. We are growing as an organization and expanding our service areas. I’m excited to have young people on our team who have remained committed to the work and are stepping up and taking the lead in community and economic development.

“From our humble beginnings to how awesome 5th Street is now. I’ve been in Olney for 32 years. I’ve seen it go up and down and now back up again. I’m excited to see how far we can go and take this. The City has to recognize Olney as a cool place to be with lots of memories” Calvin Lee – Owner of Rose Jewelers