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An effective and valuable program

To the Editor:

On September 22, The Daily Pennsylvanian published an article on the University City District's Main Street program. The article contained several misunderstandings about the program:

First, Main Street was originated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1980. In Pennsylvania, the funding for the program comes from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Within the City of Philadelphia, the Main Street program is administered by the Department of Commerce. No funds come from the National Trust.

Second, there are over 2,100 Main Street programs throughout the United States. UCD operates one of eight Main Street programs in Philadelphia.

Third, 100 percent of the money is used for direct program costs. One-third of the grant is used for facade-improvement grants made directly to small business owners. The remaining two-thirds pays for a full-time staff member who is dedicated to working with the small, independent businesses on the Baltimore Avenue corridor and other direct program costs. Absolutely no money - not one dime - goes for UCD overhead or administrative costs.

Several of the people interviewed in the article seemed to be under the impression that the funds could be used for other purposes. This is not the case.

The Main Street grant is restricted. It can be used for very limited purposes: facade-improvement grants for small businesses on Baltimore Avenue, the salary of the person responsible for working with these businesses and other direct costs of the program.

The Main Street model has proven its effectiveness in communities all across the country, and we are honored to have been chosen to bring it to University City.

Lewis Wendell The author is executive director of University City District

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