Friday, September 30, 2005

Philadelphia Food Distribution Center will Relocate to Navy Yard

A $100 million private/public sector investment will support Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry (its largest) with a new Food Distribution Center that will replace the one on Packer Avenue with an almost one million sq. ft. facility at the Navy Yard (see press release). Food merchants at the Center and approximately 1,500 jobs could have gone to New Jersey or New York, but Philadelphia and Pennsylvania put an economic development package to make sure that did not happen. 375 new jobs over the next three years are projected. Infrastructure improvements near the site will support both the Food Distribution Center and future port and Navy Yard redevelopment are planned.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Philadelphia’s World Renowned Mural Arts Program Get Funding for Expansion

Philadelphia's Mural Arts Program (“MAP”) has received approximately $.5 million in public and private funds to construct a new, 3,000 sq. ft. “Mural Arts Center” adjacent to the MAP’s current facility at 1727 Mount Vernon St. in the Spring Garden section (see article). The Mural Arts Program works with residents, grassroots organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, corporations and foundations "to design and create murals of enduring value while actively engaging youth in the process," it said. Since its founding over 20 years ago, the Mural Arts Program has done more than 2,500 indoor/outdoor murals through Philadelphia, more than any other public art program in the nation.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Philadelphia: America's Next Great City

According to a nine-page story in National Geographic Traveler that hits newsstands on Oct. 4, Philadelphia is America’s Next Great City (see article). The article cites our restaurants, arts/culture scene, walkability, and other positive attributes. National Geographic Traveler has 715,000 subscribers and a “pass-along” readership of 6 million; the magazine is the most widely read travel publication in the world.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Real Estate Tax Abatement: It Worked

In 1997, City Council passed a bill (thank you Councilman DiCicco) giving developers a 10-year real estate tax abatement when they converted buildings into apartments or condominiums. In 2000, another bill (thanks again Councilman DiCicco) provided a 10-year abatement to developers building new projects. All indications are that the breaks are facilitating an unprecedented construction boom and significantly impacting components of Philadelphia's economy; currently, the City has approximately 9,000 new residential units coming online in the near future. Based on the market value of conversion projects (as opposed to new construction), the City will eventually receive $3.5 million annually in taxes, about half of which will hit in 2009 (see article). Financial statistics don’t say as much as experiencing the vitality Center City in person; the restaurants, the street life, the retail, the throngs of people – it wasn’t like that in the late 1980s when I moved to Philadelphia. The conclusion about City governance to be drawn from all this? Think locally and act locally. The tax burden in this City is too high and complicated; policies that strategically mitigate this burden can do much to improve economic and social vitality. Of course, policies that provide universal tax relief and de-complication are beneficial as well, but that's another topic.

Monday, September 26, 2005

New FLP Website

The Free Library of Philadelphia ("FLP") has an awesome new website. A multitude of free downloads and other features that are worth checking out.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Relocation vs. Rebuilding?

In his latest column, Mark Alan Hughes states that “[o]lder American cities have become warehouses for people whose prospects would be brighter in other places. But immediate obligations, lack of resources and information, and plain old inertia anchor people in places that are declining.” And further, “the eventual happy ending for poor people comes from relocation more than rebuilding.” A couple of questions: is there empirical evidence to support this last statement? That is, is relocation more effective than rebuilding with respect to poverty eradication? Notwithstanding, should voluntary relocation be a component of poverty abatement policy? Americans of means frequently relocate for better employment opportunities and lower cost of living; should there be policies (and commensurate funding and support) for those of limited means to do the same?

Ford to Dramatically Increase Hybrid Production

According to the New American Dream, Ford Motor Company has announced that it will increase hybrid production from 25,000 annually to 250,000 hybrids per year by 2010.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Masterman: #1 Public High School in the Region

According to Philadelphia Magazine’s list of the region’s top 50 public high schools, Masterman High School is the best in the region. Four other Philadelphia public high schools made the list: Girard Academic Music Program, Creative and Performing Arts, Girls’, and Central.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Nutter and DiCicco: Politicians of the Year

Philadelphia City Councilmen Michael Nutter and Frank DiCicco have been named “politicians of the year” by the Library Journal for their use of “classic urban political strategies” to ensure that the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Central Branch expansion was advanced and neighborhood branch service levels were maintained. In the last budget cycle, these two library funding priorities were presented as an either/or choice; Nutter and DiCicco, their allies in City Council, and library advocates from all over the City secured - through political maneuvering and advocacy - funding for both important activities.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Where do all the Yuppies Meet, South Street, South Street

One of the latest Philadelphia condominium projects is on South Street. The $30 million, six-story building will contain 72 condos and 11,000 sq. ft. of retail; the exact address, 1326-52 South Street. Condos will range from 800 sq. ft. to 2,500 sq. ft. and will run from $259,000 to $1.2 million for larger units (see story).

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Demonstration Wetland Takes Shape in East Falls

Saylor Grove – a three acre “pocket park” in East Falls – is being converted into a wetland by the Philadelphia Water Department. The man-made marsh will attract bats, frogs, toads, and other critters that you’d generally find in a wetland. Visitors will be able to stroll the quarter-mile trail encircling the wetland and the site will also feature an overlook and a bridge over small waterfalls. The parcel is located across Lincoln Drive from Monoshone Creek, site of Historic RittenhouseTown and the first paper mill in America (circa 1690).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Translating the Politics of “We” into the Politics of “Me”

There’s been a lot of debate about what the Democrats should do in order to become more successful at winning elections. While there are many strategic moves we can make to improve our team’s chances of victory, there’s an imperative paradigm change that must infuse the way that we articulate our message; we must translate the politics of “we” into the politics of “me”. What does this mean? First, let’s say what it doesn’t mean; it doesn’t mean that the party should turn its back on communitarian ideals, progressivity, and concern for others. It means explaining to voters - clearly and effectively – why our policies (to the extent we can agree on them) make sense to them personally. This won’t apply to every policy, but we need to do a better job of appealing to self-interest of the enlightened variety. The Republicans have been great at telling voters how they’ll be personally served by conservative rule and it’s one of a number of reasons they’ve been able to knock us around so much lately.

Monday, September 05, 2005

LaSalle Contributes to North Philadelphia’s Economic Expansion

LaSalle University plans to create a retail center on land it holds adjacent to its main campus. The planned center - in the range of 60,000 to 100,000 square feet - would serve both students and community. Their plans call for a supermarket as the retail anchor with ancillary commercial amenities such as a dry cleaner, hair dresser, etc. filling the balance of the space (see story).

Friday, September 02, 2005

More Pro-Hybrid Legislation in PA

House Bill 1630 would waive annual emissions inspections for hybrids and House Bills 968 and 969 would waive the annual emissions inspection and registration fees for hybrids, as well as the 6% state sales tax on their purchase. Do you support these bills? Contact your legislator and let him/her know. Note that there is bi-partisan support for these bills.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Plug it In, Plug it In

The next generation of hybrid vehicles is upon us. Plug-in hybrids don’t need to be tethered to an electric cord when not in use, but the option is there. Users get the benefits of an electric car, without the challenges presented by their typically limited range. Plug-in hybrids can go all-electric for the 90% percent of driving that takes place close to home. When the electric charge draws down, a “mini-sized” petrol engine starts up and the car drives like a regular hybrid.
  • Hybrids get about two times the fuel economy of a conventional car
  • Plug-in hybrids will get about two times the fuel economy of a hybrid

Here in the Commonwealth, legislation has been introduced in the State House of Representatives that will promote and increase the use of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles in Pennsylvania.

eXTReMe Tracker


Blog Archive