The former EFDC Executive Director exchanges an office space for a year-long adventure in the south of France.

Wow, what a surprise! One minute Gina Snyder’s planning a boat landing and next year’s Dance on the Falls Bridge, the next she’s off to the south of France. From Ridge Ave to Marseille, a fishing port on the Mediterranean, in a heartbeat. We had no idea (and neither did many other Fallsers) until she made the announcement late last month.

We’re sorry to see her go, but are excited at the prospect of her tooling around the ancient streets of France’s 2nd largest city. She won’t be leaving us just yet though. She has tendered her resignation but agreed to stay on with EFDC until a replacement can be brought up to speed (sometime this summer).

The adventure will include her husband David Wootton, a professor at the Cooper Union in New York City, who is taking a sabbatical at Aix-Marseille Université to conduct research, and her two children, Forrest and Tanner. Sounds like the family experience of a lifetime!

She’s obviously excited for this next chapter, but she took a moment to reflect on what she’s accomplished in her time as Executive Director of EFDC.

East Falls has changed a lot since I joined EFDC back in 2001. It has been a pleasure to lead the resurgence of our business district and I am proud of the group’s accomplishments.  We worked with Mural Arts to create new murals under the twin bridges and secured funds to light the Falls Bridge and renovate the historic Bathey House, now the Trolley Car Café; we added a parking lot and on-street parking along Ridge Avenue and installed streetscape improvements with new pedestrian scale street lights.  There is now a ‘Gateway to East Falls’ – a pedestrian island with signature signage to calm traffic and welcome people to the neighborhood.  We added crosswalks, banners and wayfinding signs, bicycle racks, and eco-art exhibits; we brought in Farm to City and started the East Falls Farmers’ Market; we sponsor two major events each year, and I am especially proud of the Dance on the Falls Bridge, which has grown into a regional attraction.”

Gina’s work was more than just here in the Falls – she’s also been involved in citywide economic development efforts, including ten years on the Board of Directors of Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, where she helped originate the Commercial Corridor Working Group. In addition, she started and led the Northwest Commercial Corridors Coalition, a working group of organizations in Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown, West Oak Lane, Roxborough, Manayunk and East Falls.

Several of her colleagues on the EFDC board were extremely grateful for her efforts. Sharon Jaffe, the EFDC board chair, credited Gina with building the EFDC from “a wholly volunteer organization with almost no budget” to one that is now on sound financial footing with a budget of over $200,000 per year.  She thanked Gina for “working tirelessly to encourage new investment in the business district and assist local property owners’ efforts to improve their facades.”

Gina (far left) with Sharon Jaffe and Carolyn Sutton at the dedication of Ridge Ave parking spaces/crosswalk

Carolyn Sutton, a long-term board member, echoed Sharon’s praise — “Gina’s leadership has raised our profile with local and state agencies and leaves the organization with several well-advanced projects underway. We’re thankful for all she’s done and wish her all the best.”

There are still some major issues to address before she goes (e.g. renting out her house on Foxx Street for a year and learning French beyond the basics from her high school days – “English isn’t that common in Marseille,” she says) but, on the bright side, David’s friends in France are working to ease the transition to their new home. They’ve identified a local school and a few potential apartments that might suit the family. “We’re looking for a school within walking distance and a larger apartment – we’d like to have extra room for when friends visit us.”

What’s next after France? “I’ll figure out my next career move when I get back, for now it’s all about France. One thing I do know, I’ll definitely be returning to the Falls — I love it here.”

We’ll miss you Gina — Voyages sûrs!

Need a Job?
Resumes are now being accepted for the position of Executive Director. The EFDC board plans to fill the position by the end of May. Applications will be accepted until Friday, April 21st. Click here for the job description.

How to Apply

  • Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter by April 21, 2017.
  • Address to “Search Committee” and email: Employment (at) EastFalls-PA.com. Send the resume and cover letter as an attachment.
  • Cover letter must include an answer to the question: “Tell us your favorite thing about East Falls.”
  • The EFDC expects to hire an Executive Director by May 31, 2017.
  • The EFDC is an equal opportunity employer.

East Falls Development Corporation
4133 Ridge Ave, #1
Philadelphia, PA  19129
215.848.8084

About the EFDC
The EFDC is dedicated to the economic revitalization of East Falls for the benefit of its residents.  Beyond corporate governance, it has four active committees:  Real Estate, Events and Promotions, Design, and Business Improvement District.  Residents and businesses are encouraged to participate.