Press release

Center City District Marks 30 Years of Keeping Downtown Philadelphia Clean, Safe and Attractive

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


Founding principles as essential for Center City now as they were in 1991

PHILADELPHIA (March 18, 2021) – Center City District (CCD) is marking its 30th year of enhancing the vitality of downtown Philadelphia as a thriving 24-hour environment and a great place to live and work. 

This simple but ambitious mission started on March 20, 1991, with ensuring the 233 blocks in the District were “clean, safe, attractive” at all times, and grew to include the installation and maintenance of lighting, signs, trees and landscaping; a full calendar of events and programming throughout the downtown; and the renovation and management of four urban parks that have become major destinations in Center City.

When the stay-at-home order went into effect in March 2020, CCD on-street employees were designated “essential workers,” enabling them to remain fully employed. They kept sidewalks clean and served as a visible, reassuring presence. CCD cleaners power-washed sidewalks and building facades and installed vibrant artwork created by local artists on boarded up storefronts. 

A new CCD bike patrol and van patrol was deployed afternoons and evenings, seven days per week, supplementing the role of the Community Service Representatives (CSRs). Our outreach teams, specially trained CSRs partnered with Project HOME and the Philadelphia Police Department service detail and continue to engage daily with Center City’s homeless population. In the last two years, the teams assisted more than 300 people to come off the street and connect with shelter and services. 

Because well-managed parks and public spaces have become more essential than ever, our parks team has continued beautification efforts that include planting street trees, filling flowerbeds with tens of thousands of bulbs, maintaining hundreds of sidewalk planters, and improving street lighting. A key part of this effort is focused on Dilworth Park, Sister Cities Park, John F. Collins Park and Crét Park — four remarkable public spaces created by the CCD that turned formerly barren areas into places of year-round enjoyment for Philadelphia residents, families, workers and tourists.

While remaining mindful of the City of Philadelphia’s requirements limiting social distancing and indoor capacity of restaurants and retail establishments, we have continued supporting Center City businesses with marketing campaigns promoting takeout food and to-go cocktails and by reminding people across the region about the unique mix of shops and boutiques downtown.

“Center City has changed dramatically since CCD began in March of 1991, a time when retailers rolled down security gates on Chestnut and Walnut streets at 5:30 p.m. and downtown neighborhoods were devoid of activity after business hours,” CCD President Paul R. Levy said. “With vaccine distribution ramping up, people are again becoming optimistic about the future. To support recovery, CCD’s mission in 2021 is similar to what it was in 1991: a clean, safe and attractive Center City and the restoration of jobs for all of Philadelphia’s residents.”


Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at and on Facebook and Twitter.