Commercial Corridors

Corridor Manager On-Boarding Program

PACDC’s Corridor Manager On-Boarding Program helps newer corridor managers build practical skills, connections, and confidence.

New commercial corridor managers are often expected to learn on the job. This 6-month program combines intensive training, structured coaching, peer support, and access to resources to support professional development, all geared toward helping newer corridor managers learn the basics of the job.

The On-Boarding Program introduces newer corridor managers to the web of policies, programs, and people they need to know to be effective, providing a foundation in the skills and knowledge essential to success in their role. Trainings focus heavily on the core principles of neighborhood economic development, anti-displacement, and community wealth building; linkages between the broader community and the commercial corridor; and connections between their corridor management work and their organization’s broader community development goals and mission. There is a heavy emphasis throughout the training series on engaging diverse stakeholders, building relationships, and understanding the important role corridor managers can play in advancing equity in their communities.

Meet the 2023 On-Boarding Cohort

Ángel Ballesteros: Association of Mexican Business Owners of Philadelphia

For over 15 years, Ángel has worked in social and environmental development, with acute focus on educational and economic perspectives. He is passionate about creating connections and enabling collaborative opportunities among public institutions, communities, and the private sector to solve shared problems. He has experience collaborating with the Mexican authorities and international organizations, as well as organizations from different countries in Latin America, Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. Ángel is also an academic in current worldwide challenges.

Aminata Sandra Calhoun: Centennial Parkside CDC

Formally educated at Antioch University, Aminata obtained her B.A. in Human Service and Master’s in Social Work and Psychology. In January 2021, Centennial Parkside CDC hired her as their Director of Sanitation and Environmental Programming. She has since worked in this position to focus on reduction of waste throughout communities and eradicating illegal dumping. She is a passionate “Transformer of Environmentally Sustainable Urban Revitalization.”

Sydney Camisa Deas: Mt. Airy CDC

Sydney joined Mt. Airy CDC as the Community Economic Development Coordinator in 2023. A Jersey native, she moved to Philadelphia in 2015 and has been doing nonprofit work for the past decade. She earned a BA from the University of Vermont and MPA from Villanova University. Prior to the CDC, her work background was rooted in a combination of fundraising and direct services. She is grateful to have the opportunity to live, work, and play in Mt. Airy, where she resides with her husband and two cats. In her free time you can likely find her in the kitchen or at her sewing machine.

Meredith Ellison: Fairmount CDC

Meredith Ellison is the new Community Business Advocate at Fairmount Community Development Corporation, focusing on growing the West Girard Business District. A Fairmount/Brewerytown resident, Meredith has previously worked as an AmeriCorps VISTA at Feast of Justice food pantry, focusing on building organizational capacity by creating and strengthening partnerships. Meredith supports the community of local business-owners on and adjacent to West Girard Avenue between 33rd Street and College Avenue, directs programming for the Greater Art Museum Business Alliance, and manages Fairmount CDC’s cohorts for the PhillyiHub local entrepreneur initiative.

Joshua Harris: Kensington Corridor Trust

Josh is an innovative design-build industry professional who began working for Kensington Corridor Trust as Construction Project Manager in June 2022. Previously as the owner of Design Art Build Co., for over ten years, Josh recently completed construction/project management for a 25-unit net positive solar apartment complex called “the building of the future” by Inquirer staff writer Inga Saffron. He also has experience in the non profit sectors working for museums and artists over his career. He was a teaching artist through the Mural Arts Program at Asian Arts Initiative as wells as an artist in residence through the Philadelphia Museum at Stetson High School and Strawberry Mansion. Josh was recently elected Treasure of the board for Taller Puertorriqueño.

Alec Hersh: City Ave District

Alec is an Urban Revitalization and Commercial Corridor manager with over 5 years’ experience in nonprofit leadership and community-based program administration. Having originally worked in theatre education, he recognized the intertwined nature of arts and downtown vitality and decided to make this his focus. He earned his MPA in Urban/Regional Planning, focusing on economic development, main street curation, small business development, and creative placemaking. In his former role with the Myrtle Beach downtown improvement district, he led the implementation of their public art policies and worked closely with the network of small businesses owners to help create a bustling community. He looks forward to bringing his passion for economic vitality to the City Ave District.

Carmen Hubbard: ACHIEVEability

Carmen Hubbard, M.Ed., is the Director of Economic Development at ACHIEVEability and she has worked in the non-profit arena for 30 years. Carmen has dedicated her career to community behavioral health and community development. Carmen is highly passionate about helping others achieve their dreams and about building wealth in historically marginalized communities.

Anthony Lugo: Greater Philadelphia Community Alliance

As Commercial Corridor Manager at GPCA, Anthony supports the Point Breeze corridor, as well as West Passyunk (between 21st-17th) and West of Snyder (between 21st-17th). Before being promoted to his current position, Anthony served as a Cleaning Ambassador for GPCA, with five years of previous experience in retail. Anthony holds a bachelors degree in Graphic and Web design, and is a lifelong Philadelphian and father of one.

Darlenyns Melos: Esperanza

Darlenys is a passionate business professional with a deep-rooted connection to entrepreneurship. Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, she developed a strong affinity for business from an early age. Today, she is equally passionate about the community that she serves, having grown up in close proximity to the area. With a background in sales, she has gained valuable insights into the art of connecting with people. Over the past year she has been working at Esperanza, where she has forged close relationships with business owners. With an unwavering commitment to supporting the local business community, she is excited for the opportunity to contribute to their expertise and make a positive impact.

Hayoi Shang: PCDC

Haoyi Shang is a Commercial Corridor Manager at Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, where she manages small business development and commercial corridor revitalization projects. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a double major in Political Science and Urban Studies and Planning. She earned her Master of Science in Historic Preservation from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jamar Smith: The Enterprise Center

Jamar Smith supports businesses on the vibrant 52nd Street commercial corridor in his role as The Enterprise Center’s Corridor Manager. With a background in criminal justice and social impact work, Jamar brings valuable insights from his time as an investigator at the Pennsylvania Innocence Project and the Defender Association of Philadelphia. Passionate about youth empowerment, he also served as a Supervising Worksite Monitor for the Urban Affairs Coalition, providing students with invaluable work-based skills training. He received his Bachelors degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he was President of the Black Culture Society and active in Track & Field. Jamar is dedicated to fostering inclusivity and celebrating diversity in all aspects of his work.

Cheryl Wiltshire: N. 5th Street Revitalization Project

Cheryl has deep roots in the Olney community living here all her life. She often found herself leaving to go to school, shop, and find fun activities to do. It was not until joining Young City Planners Initiative (YCPI) in 2017, that she was able to see Olney for what it was: a loving, caring, and diverse community with plenty to offer. After One year of YCPI and another as part of the Olney Youth Advisory Council (OYAC), she graduated in 2019 from Olney Charter High School and continued her education at West Chester University of Pennsylvania as a Criminal Justice major with a minor in Youth empowerment and Urban Development. Despite being very busy with school Cheryl is always able to find time for volunteer work. It is this love for giving back to the community that connected her to her position as Broad & Olney Corridor Manager.

Commercial Corridor Policy Agenda

In collaboration with PACDC’s Commercial Corridor Working Group, a gathering of twenty member organizations that work on-the-ground to strengthen small businesses and neighborhood shopping districts, we released this Policy Agenda in the spring of 2017.

Download a PDF of the full Commercial Corridor Policy Agenda here.

Neighborhood commercial corridors are the economic veins of our City.  They provide jobs and offer residents local access to needed goods and services.  When safe, clean and vibrant, they attract new residents to the surrounding residential area, which can lead to revitalization of the entire neighborhood.  In fact, research shows that commercial corridors that are in “good” or “excellent” condition increase home values by 36% within ¼ mile, but poor condition corridors decrease surrounding home values.

Through federal, state and local funds, the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Commerce has invested in programs that have made a significant positive impact on our corridors.  PACDC and its Commercial Corridor Working Group (CCWG) calls on City Council and the Kenney Administration to boost investment in programs that have been effective, and implement other policies that can help create more supportive environments for corridor-based small businesses.

Make Corridors Clean, Safe, and Attractive

Corridors that are safe, free of litter, and feature quality signage, landscaping and good property conditions attract foot traffic as well as business location and expansion.

Read more here.

Support Neighborhood-Based Small Businesses

Small businesses on our neighborhood corridors provide the goods and services that encourage residents to shop local, creating jobs and generating tax revenue.

These recommendations will create a better atmosphere for small business investment and growth.

Read more here.

Strengthen CDC Capacity for Economic Development

CDCs are on the front lines of supporting our neighborhood corridors. Corridor Managers facilitate physical improvements, connect small businesses with resources and programs, market the corridors to attract shoppers and more businesses, engage the community, oversee cleaning programs, and more.

Resources for these programs are very limited, and have not increased with inflation.  Boosting support for CDCs and their economic development activity will strengthen corridors and surrounding neighborhoods.

Read more here.

Improve Communication & Coordination Between City Agencies on Corridors

Many City agencies regularly work on our neighborhood corridors, but they’re not always as coordinated with each other, with merchant’s associations, or with CDCs as they could be.  These ideas will help create stronger communication and coordination, avoiding frustration, saving time, and strengthening confidence in local government.

Read more here.