August 27, 2016
ISSUE | CITY LAND SALES Follow fair plan We join the Editorial Board in calling on Mayor Kenney to prioritize and fully staff the city's land bank ("Avoid bias in land sales," Wednesday). However, the call to at times let the market "do its job" will not advance equitable or sensible development in our city. The administration must also fully empower the land bank to implement its strategic plan. That plan, created in partnership with members of the public, City Council, and neighborhood and organizational stakeholders, is the reason the land bank exists.
August 25, 2016
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson is a walking, talking contradiction. He says he wants to protect poor residents in his South Philadelphia district from being displaced by gentrification. Yet, in about two dozen instances he aided developers who purchased city-owned properties to build high-priced housing that the poor can't afford. Johnson says he didn't give favorable treatment to the developers, but three contributed to his political campaigns and one built his home. The city's land-purchase policy is to competitively bid properties where there is interest and give discounts to buyers who agree to include affordable housing.
August 12, 2016
HOW DOES a city like Philadelphia grow and become successful for all of its citizens? That complex question has no single answer. For one thing, "growth and success" is often in the eye of the beholder; if you're a low- or middle-income resident living in a booming neighborhood, growth can mean getting priced out of the housing market . . . or losing valuable community gardens or other such space to high-priced developments. With tens of thousands of vacant properties and decades of declining population and growth, Philadelphia has rarely had to confront the often tough balances that neighborhood growth demands.
March 20, 2016 |
Name: Philadelphia Industrial Development Corp. What: Nonprofit partnership between City of Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce to assist in economic development. How: Through financing tools, business relationships, access to an industrial land bank. Runs federal program to attract foreign investors. Revenues: $11 million from fees, government grants. Employees: 60.
December 19, 2015
By Thomas H. Earle Despite the glimmer of Center City, Philadelphia remains one of the poorest big cities in America. One of the tragedies of that circumstance is the lack of decent homes for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. We can do so much more about this crisis, especially with a new mayor who has made fighting poverty his priority. The waiting lists for this kind of housing are overwhelming and, in the case of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, closed. Yet the need continues to grow.
December 11, 2015 |
Nearly two years after its creation, the Philadelphia Land Bank is ready to do business. Mayor Nutter on Wednesday announced the transfer of 150 property deeds owned by the government nonprofit Philadelphia Housing Development Corp. to the Land Bank, a deposit that made the bank able to carry out its mission: assemble vacant properties for development. And more deposits are on the way. An additional 500 PHDC deeds are expected to be transferred by the end of the year, and on Thursday, City Council is expected to approve the transfer to the bank of 833 city-owned properties.
November 26, 2015 |
Mayor-elect Jim Kenney announced another round of administrative appointments Tuesday, including some of his former City Council staffers and a reshuffling of top Nutter administration aides. Jim Engler, a Kenney campaign official and former Council staffer, will serve as deputy mayor for policy and legislation. Richard Lazer, also a Kenney campaign and Council staffer, will serve as deputy mayor for labor. Clarena Tolson, the current revenue commissioner, will serve as the deputy managing director for infrastructure and transportation.
November 5, 2015 |
Jim Kenney completed his journey from South Philadelphia to the threshold of the mayor's office Tuesday, propelled by hope for his city and an inclusive coalition. Now Mayor-elect Kenney must draw on his skills as a unifier to build a government that not only reflects the city but makes it better. The people the longtime councilman chooses to help him lead the city and his early policy initiatives will signal what Philadelphians can expect from their 99th mayor. They should certainly expect him to take dramatic steps to turn around Philadelphia's schools.
October 31, 2015 |
Responsible only to voters who hardly know of them, Philadelphia's city commissioners, sheriff, and register of wills are up for election Tuesday. These so-called row offices, which turn legitimate government functions into backward political jobs programs, are best understood as continuous campaigns for their own elimination. The three-member City Commission oversees elections, but its Democratic chairman, Anthony Clark, doesn't vote - or work - much. The other Democrat on the ballot, Lisa M. Deeley, is the party's choice to replace Commissioner Stephanie Singer, who failed to gather enough signatures to run in the primary.
August 11, 2015
IN URBAN AMERICA, vacant land and abandoned buildings offer a one-two punch to neighborhoods. They are both a symptom and a cause of decline. On a block where a few houses go empty, it sends a signal to potential buyers to be wary. That leads to more unsold houses, derelict properties that sometimes are torn down, tearing away at the fabric of a block. Pretty soon, the downward spiral accelerates. In Philadelphia, we're all too familiar with this cycle. We have an estimated 40,000 empty lots and vacant buildings, most of them in older, poorer neighborhoods that surround the city's core.