City Ave District celebrates 25 years of business and community impact, unveils new logo
New logo marks ‘spirit of collaboration’

By RICHARD ILGENFRITZ | | Main Line Media News

PUBLISHED: February 19, 2024 at 9:45 a.m. | UPDATED: February 19, 2024 at 10:48 a.m.

LOWER MERION — Although many residents of Lower Merion and Philadelphia might not know the organization that’s worked to improve the City Avenue corridor, their work is very visible. One place the organization’s work can be seen is with the district’s Community Service Representatives, who are often seen wearing red shirts and biking up and down City Avenue. The district has also been instrumental in improving the streetscape and pedestrian safety along City Avenue and some nearby streets.

Now, a quarter of a century after its founding, the City Ave District is celebrating its 25th anniversary. As part of the anniversary, they recently unveiled a new logo and a rebranding to encapsulate the energy, partnerships, and progress that have added to its successes.

“City Ave District is proud to celebrate this significant milestone and pay tribute to the spirit of collaboration and dedication among our public officials, business leaders, and residents who have contributed so much to the City Ave District community,” said Bryan Fenstermaker, City Ave District president and CEO. “We’re kicking off our 25th year with $300 million in active development projects, a series of master plans that will transform our retail and dining selection, along with our green and community spaces. All this energy and momentum leading us into the next phase of our organization makes our 25th anniversary even more special and exciting.”

As part of the rebranding, City Ave District unveiled its new logo, featuring refreshed colors, typography, and stylistic elements, including a distinctive line representing the unique partnership between the City of Philadelphia and the Township of Lower Merion.

The City Ave District serves portions of Philadelphia and Lower Merion and runs along City Avenue from the Schuylkill Expressway to Wynnewood Road. It also includes some of the nearby adjacent streets, such as the commercial areas of Bala Avenue.

“What’s really unique about us is that we border two municipalities, so we have the ability to work with the City of Philadelphia and Lower Merion in Montgomery County,” Fenstermaker said.

That cooperation with both municipalities has led to about $17 million in capital projects over the years.

Officials say the new logo “reflects the district’s commitment to progress, innovation and inclusivity, ensuring its continued relevance for years to come.”

Recently, they completed a $3.4 million project near the Target store on the Philadelphia side of City Avenue that reconnected Presidential Boulevard to Monument. According to Fenstermaker, that project was a joint venture between City Ave, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Target and the City of Philadelphia. The year before, they did another project adding battery backups for all the intersections.

The district also did some of the work near St. Joseph’s University, such as the median strips in the middle of City Avenue.

The City Ave District started out in 1999 as a way to get Lower Merion and Philadelphia to work together on issues. “A lot of the work that has been done over the years has been streetscape improvements,” Fenstermaker said.

So, what’s up for the future?

Fenstermaker said they’ve looked at two areas over the past year – developing a retail strategy plan and a master landscaping plan. Both projects wrapped up this past fall. The retail plan will be presented to the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners at an upcoming meeting.

“The goal is to make the road (City Avenue) seem seamless so that you can’t tell one side of the street from the other — whether it’s Lower Merion or Philadelphia,” Fenstermaker said.

With the City Ave District spanning both sides of City Avenue, they are able to work equally with both Philadelphia and Lower Merion officials.

“It is a great privilege to serve as the Board Chair for City Ave District during this remarkable period of transformation for both City Avenue and the organization,” said Rich Gottlieb, president and CEO of Keystone. “I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years bring for City Ave District as we continue to work together for the benefit of all.”

There are 80,000 residents and 39,745 people working and living within a 10-minute drive of City Avenue.

Between Saint Joseph’s University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, there are over 9,500 higher education students.

“As we celebrate 25 years of growth, collaboration and community, City Ave District is proud to unveil a refreshed brand that captures the spirit of our dynamic corridor. The new logo represents not only our rich history but also our commitment to progress and the exciting partnerships propelling us into the future. We are excited to continue building on our success and creating an even more vibrant and connected City Ave
District,” Fenstermaker said.