Relocation & The Enterprise Zone

Posted: December 04, 2002

RE YOUR Nov. 18 article "Blight fight targeting occupied homes":

The story was correct that only 2 percent of the properties scheduled to be acquired through the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative will require the relocation of residents. Indeed, one of the principles the city has followed in identifying properties for acquisition is to minimize the need for relocation.

In those few cases where it is required, the city is committed (and the Redevelopment Authority is required by federal law) to provide residents with not only the appraised market value of their homes, but with an additional payment, if needed, to help them obtain a comparable unit in the neighborhood of their choice. Families are also entitled to payment for moving costs.

However, the headline implies that the assembly of land on the 2100 block of American and Bodine streets is funded by NTI bonds. In fact, this is a separate project, funded by the Commerce Department, and is the culmination of more than 10 years of planning and land assembly along the American Street corridor.

City agencies met with a number of community organizations in the neighborhood for many months to discuss the formation of an Urban Renewal Area suitable for industrial and commercial projects. They sponsored a community meeting last spring attended by more than 100 residents.

The Empowerment Zone has reached out to and met with all of the residents directly affected by planned projects on the 1700 and 2500 blocks of American Street. The reactions are mixed: a number of the families view relocation as an opportunity, while others are reluctant to leave their homes.

While in a perfect world no project would require any relocation, the city is committed to working with residents to ensure that families get what is required by law - just compensation, provided with sensitivity and respect.

Eva Gladstein, Executive Director

Philadelphia Empowerment Zone

Mr. Mayor: Get real on patronage

As a registered Republican, I can't help but think that most of those lame-duck bills in Harrisburg were just power grabs. Big deal - now the Republicans control a few more patronage jobs. Wouldn't it be nice if instead of using the Parking Authority and the Convention Center for patronage they would instead lay off ALL unnecessary positions?

However, this being Pennsylvania, neither party would ever do such a thing. But to hear John Street say that the legislature contains some leaders "who are more interested in patronage and other things than they are in the way our community works" is an absolute joke.

If Mayor Street wants to be taken seriously, how about getting rid of the thousands of patronage positions in city government, SEPTA, PGW, the school district and the Convention Center that suck the city, state and taxpayers dry?

Brian Pugliese, Glenside

Victimized while shopping

It is a shame that you can't go shopping in a Center City store and feel safe.

I went to Kmart to get my grandson some much needed things when I was bumped by two low-lifes who went into my purse and stole my money. Being elderly, I didn't dare try to catch them. I was so angry that I went to security to see if they could go over the tapes on the store camera, but it wasn't working.

So, to the pair who took the $105: You won't be so lucky next time. They need to put these kind of people UNDER the jail,and have more undercover security walking all over the Gallery and in stores.

Dorothy Alston, Philadelphia

Handi-scam parking

It is very disturbing to see cars with false handicap placards or plates.

I am positive that many people in the South Philadelphia community feel the same as I do. These illegal actions cause people who really are handicapped to worry that there may not be any easy-access parking spots for them. The handicapped parking situation is out of control.

Tiffany D'Aurizio, Philadelphia

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