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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was one of many speakers at the launch of Ready.Set.Philly! on March 24, 2021. Screenshot: Nigel Thompson/AL DÍA News.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was one of many speakers at the launch of Ready.Set.Philly! on March 24, 2021. Screenshot: Nigel Thompson/AL DÍA News.

Ready.Set.Philly! Philadelphia launches its pitch to bring people back and revitalize the city

The new initiative announced on March 24 has its work cut out for returning the city to its pre-pandemic activity level for work and play.

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With vaccine efforts ramping up across Philadelphia and the country, the city and the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia unveiled their comeback plans for Philly’s hard-hit business community.

Ready.Set.Philly! is billed as the city’s pitch to the public for people to come back to Philadelphia to revitalize its small businesses and arts and culture scenes.

The initiative, which is one of many that is part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Recharge and Recover economic recovery plan for the region, was unveiled in a press conference on March 24, featuring Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney alongside some of the city’s leaders in finance and the business community.

“COVID-19 has changed our entire world, threatening the health of residents and the well-being of our city – including our small business owners, cultural institutions and hospitality industry,” said Kenney. “As we ramp up our vaccination efforts and look towards a ‘new normal’ for Philadelphia, the economic health and vitality of our community depends on restoring jobs and on residents, workers, and visitors coming back. Ready.Set.Philly! will provide a path forward that helps give people the confidence to return to the office, eat in local restaurants, and take in all the things that make our city great.”

Its organizers, which comprise some of the biggest names in corporate and government leadership, are using the initiative as a “mission control” for revitalization efforts.

Those include:

  • Working together and with partners outside of Philadelphia to create return-to-work plans
  • Providing up-to-date information about vaccine distribution, things to do in downtown Philadelphia, public transit, safety, and returning to the workplace.
  • Supporting initiatives to safely increase indoor commerce and revitalize downtown Philadelphia.
  • Coordinating with businesses to ensure the cleanliness and safety of public transit.
  • Creating further campaigns to promote the safe return to Philadelphia.

According to Econsult Solutions, Inc., about 155,000 Philadelphia residents work in Center City, and overall earnings top $10 billion annually for them and those coming from the suburbs.

For those coming from different parts of the city, those earnings go back to the neighborhoods where the residents live, supporting further small businesses and commercial corridors.

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Returning to somewhere close to $10 billion will be vital to achieving what Ready.Set.Philly! is setting out to do in bringing people back to the city.

That is also considering the city itself is staring down a $750 million budget gap for 2021 and a further $450 million for 2022.

Given no one in at least a century has faced coming out of an economic depression as a result of a global pandemic, leaders in Philadelphia are trying to be at the forefront of the national recovery.

“There’s no roadmap or blueprint for re-setting the economic and cultural ecosystem of a city after a global pandemic, so we’re out to create the model,” said Susan Jacobson, chair of the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia.

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