Parkside Association of Philadelphia, Inc, was established on June 1, 1977 to provide community based planning for the West Parkside Community. Parkside Association of Philadelphia incorporated on December 30, 1977 and has been in operation for 33 years and continues to be a dynamic force in and for the community.
In 1977 the City of Philadelphia proposed to construct a parking lot for what was then called the Dell East in Fairmount Park. This was directly across from the residential 5100 hundred block of Parkside Avenue. Lucinda Hudson, then 28 year old mother of two sons, led a protest to stop the construction of that parking lot. PAP was born out of that protest which was viewed by the residents as a negative externality on their community. The momentum spurred further community organizing, participation, development planning efforts, and the subsequent appointment of block captains that would eventually become the Board of Directors of PAP. Ella D. Francis was elected as PAP first president and served in that capacity until October 1997, when Lucinda Hudson was elected and has been the president until present day. In 1978, West Parkside was given neighborhood status, and the Philadelphia Planning Commission put together the “West Parkside Strategy Plan”, a comprehensive plan directed at improving the neighborhood’s housing stock, site improvements to facilitate pedestrian travel, and improvements in bus service.
Recognition of the significance and potential for revitalization of commercial properties in the context of community development led to the cultivation of linkage relationships and other collaborative efforts. The results were a planned community development project/strategy for the neighborhood aimed at bringing about the economic, social, and physical revitalization of the West Parkside Neighborhood. These many projects ranged from job creation, job training, and child care, referral services for housing, housing development and assistance with energy issues. One of PAP’s major collaborative efforts was bringing Control Data to West Parkside in order to establish a small business incubator in what is now the Business and Technology Center.
PAP has demonstrated experience in community development evidenced through its successful rehabilitation of 19 houses producing 26 units of living. Subsequently, the rehabilitation of these buildings has created much needed affordable housing stock for community residents, and restored aesthetic appeal to Parkside’s external façade abutting Fairmount Park contributing to the greater marketability of the community.
PAP’s community advocacy has been very instrumental in many important projects coming to West Parkside. One such effort is the Park Town West Mall which opened In May of 2008. The initiative to build the Park Town West Mall became a reality through an exhaustive effort to keep the community needs at the forefront of negotiations. Many long hours were spent in negotiations and community meetings to ensure the project's success.