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WHAT'S NEW IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD
SOME OPEN QUESTIONS AFFECTING OUR NEIGHBORHOOD
As we enter the year's final trimester, there are a number of pending issues that we will be following:
SOUTH STREET BRIDGE TRAFFIC STUDIES: Those traversing the South Street Bridge cannot help but notice the groundwork for a high rise office building to be occupied by Children's Hospital researchers and back office staff. CCRA, partnering with South of South Neighborhood Association and South Street West Business Association has met regularly over a three year period with the CHOP planners on the site's design. Currently, our representatives participate in monthly meetings regarding the project's progress. The upshot is a design which, for the most part, is neighborhood friendly. Even so, CCRA remains concerned about traffic issues. Most vehicles will enter and exit the site at a stop light situated on the downstroke of the bridge at its eastern end. CHOP's traffic studies only account for the activity expected to arise from the initial tower presently under construction but, if CHOP carries through with its plans to extend the campus by erecting additional buildings south along the river, the traffic volume will increase significantly. To date, CHOP has refused the neighborhoods' request to expand the study to include an analysis of the possible implications of future development and, consequently, CCRA has written the Mayor's Office of Transportation asking that further studies be completed. We shall update you on any developments.
COUNCIL'S DISTRIBUTION OF SCHOOL FUNDS: Our June 26 edition reported on the three tax increases expected to net an additional $70 of which $50 million was derived from a real estate tax increase. Of this sum, $45 million was transferred to the School District to help close the school budget gap, reported to be $103 million. The remaining $25 million was withheld pending Council's authorization of its disbursement. Council President Clarke has pointedly questioned School Superintendent Hite about outsourcing the hiring of substitute teachers and the compensation levels of District personnel and, in doing so, has noted that Council has yet to approve the final $25 million disbursement. We shall keep you updated on when and whether the additional funds are disbursed.
REAL ESTATE TAX ASSESSMENT ISSUES: The Crosstown Coalition, a 20 civic association federation of which CCRA was a charter member, delivered to the City's tax assessors, the Office of Property Assessment, a 37 page study, analyzing the accuracy of the AVI reassessment program. The report revealed a number of disparities. Most notably it concluded that land on properties subject to the ten year tax abatement was under assessed. The City is entitled to collect taxes on the real estate portion of properties otherwise tax free due to the ten year abatement program so that these underassessments represent cash left on the table. The Crosstown has requested a meeting with OPA to discuss these findings. We shall update you on any developments.
THE GUN SHOP ON PERCY STREET: Per our report in the August 14 edition, at the request of sister civic and fellow Crosstown member, Callowhill Neighbors Association, CCRA wrote the Zoning Board of Adjustment opposing the request for a permit to operate a gun shop on North Percy street, around the corner from the former site of Colosimo's, a gun retailer which was closed in 2009 by Federal authorities after weapons it sold were linked to ten homicides and more than 425 crimes. To date the Zoning Board of Adjustment has yet to rule on the request. We shall update you on any developments.
CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS
CCRA is looking for members to serve on several committees and taskforces. If you are interested, please email CCRA.
The committees and taskforces for which CCRA is seeking members include:
Parking taskforce - to examine the demand for parking, parking patterns and what we can do to improve on-street parking in our neighborhood
Sidewalk cleaning taskforce - to examine efficacy of our street cleaning efforts and fundraising for those efforts
Technology/innovation taskforce - to improve CCRA's use of IT to better serve our members, including redoing our webiste
By-laws committee - this committee reviews proposed revisions to the buy laws
Nominations committee - selects future board members and officers for nomination
STREET SCENE URBAN GARDEN COMPETITION AWARDS CEREMONY, SAT, 9/12, 1 PM, SCHYKLL RIV PRK COMM GRDN, 25TH & SPRUCE
J oin us on for the second annual Street Scene Urban Garden Competition Awards Ceremony Saturday, September 12 at 1 PM at the Schuylkill River Park Community Garden. Celebrate the beauty of the neighborhood thanks to the efforts of you, your friends and neighbors. Who will win the grand prize? Most Dramatic? Best Design? Only attendees will know!
Bacchus is providing light refreshments, and iced tea and lemonade will be served. There will be DOOR PRIZES but you must be present to win! Please let us know if we can expect you, your family and friends and children. That way we'll be sure to have enough of everything to go around.
COME ONE, COME ALL! QUARTERLY TOWN HALL-TYPE MEETINGS TO BEGIN THIS OCTOBER...get to know your elected officials and vice versa
As an added benefit of membership, CCRA will be organizing informal get-togethers with various elected government officials to provide a forum for some direct discussions on issues that concern our members. Our first such meeting will be with Kenyatta Johnson, Councilman for the Second District in October (specific date, time, and location TBD). Other city agency reps may be present. Besides an update from the Councilman on issues he and/or City Council are/may be considering, issues members have requested be addressed are: CSX (although this is not a city council issue), condition of sidewalks, Comcast franchise agreement renewal (although not really in city council's control), aging emergency vehicles, ending homelessness. Further information about these meetings will be contained in our weekly eNewsletters and CCQ.
AMBASSADORS needed for Papal Visit
There's been some talk of 1.5 million or more people stopping by with him. While the scuttlebutt suggests that the Bishop of Rome will cause more disruption than Category 3 Hurricane, this is an opportunity for us to show everyone what a great place Center City is. To that end, CCRA is looking for volunteers who can serve as "civic ambassadors" during the papal visit. We're looking for people who are willing to go on the streets, greet our visitors and help them find their way around town while they're here. Let's make Philly shine!!! If you're interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org (using the subject "Pope Visit").
57TH ANNUAL CCRA HOUSE TOUR, SUN, 10/18,1-5 PM
The 57th Annual House Tour features 9 residences and the spectacular interior of the Swedenborgian Church which has been repurposed for office uses. Tour tickets purchased before 10/15 are $30 each. To buy a ticket, click here, call 215-546-9719, or mail a check to CCRA (1600 Market St, Suite 2500, Phila. PA 19103).
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR CCRA'S 57TH ANNUAL FALL HOUSE TOUR, SUN, 10/18
Hosts/Hostesses are stationed in beautiful homes and condos from 1:00PM until 3:00PM or from 3:00PM until 5:00PM. Duties include greeting tour goers, protecting household items, and encouraging a safe flow of foot traffic. In thanks for your gift of time, you will receive a free ticket to use either before or after your volunteer assignment to tour other homes. If you wish to volunteer, email us at email@example.com.
PYRAMID CLUB ANNOUNCES RENOVATIONS AT ITS 52ND
Many CCRA members attended the Pyramid Club's July 14 Sky High Block Party on the 52nd floor of the BNY Mellon building (18th and Market), an event which proved so popular that the attendance slots filled up almost immediately. The Club, which is open from 7 am to 11pm, has announced that its lounges, dining rooms, meeting rooms, all of which offer spectacular City views, will be renovated starting this Fall with completion early in 2016. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Pyramid Club contact Membership Director Maureen Coyle 215-979-3131 or by email.
CCRA MERCHANT MEMBERS DISCOUNT PROGRAM
Support our local merchants and save money too. These local merchants will provide a discount (described here) to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card (Di Bruno Bros. has its own CCRA card) and personal identification.
Uber - Limo service Uber provides $20 off a first ride, Good for new users only. Members use code CCRA14.
Philly Foodworks - Use the code "CCRA" when signing up for home delivery and receive a $20 discount on delivery charges.
NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS AND EVENTS
ART EXHIBIT: "THE NATURE OF COEXISTENCE," FRI, 9/11 THRU SUN. 10/4, TWENTY-TWO GALLERY, 236 S. 22ND ST
"Weathered" Mixed Media on panel, 36" x 24"
TONITE, 9/11, 6 to 9 PM
In this exhibit, Jessica Barber explores the co-existence of beings and their environments, whether it be industrial / man-made, or organic. Through printmaking and mixed media, she examines these relationships,through an intuitive, textual approach.
ONE RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION CARNIVAL, SAT, 9/12, 1-4PM, ONE RIVERSIDE CONSTRUCTION SITE, 25TH & LOCUST
Bring the kids to this free fun-filled day! Meet "Carl the Builder," snack on hot dogs, water ice & soft pretzels. "Touch a truck" and get your photo taken with your favorite one. Free hard hats, coloring books, and more! For more information, click here.
FIRST UNITARIAN CHURCH RUMMAGE SALE, SAT, 9/12, 10 AM - 2 PM, 2125 CHESTNUT ST
Sneak Preview, TONITE, 5 PM - 7 PM
You may drop off your items and leave them in the Sanctuary from Tuesday, 9/8, until the afternoon of the sale. Please do not donate any large electronics, computers or clothing other than scarves and jewelry. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phila Horticultural Society Harvest Fest at the PHS Pop Up Garden, FRI, 9/18 - SUN, 9/20, 15TH & SOUTH ST
The PHS Harvest Fest will be held in the PHS Pop Up Gardens, located at 15 th & South Streets. The full schedule of events in the gardens is updated regularly at PHSonline.org or click here to view the schedule.
Penn's 5K for IOA (Institute on Aging), SUN, 9/20, 8AM, PENN PARK, 33RD ST BTW WALNUT AND SOUTH
What better way to welcome the fading days of summer than a Sunday morning walk/run through a beautiful, part of our city? Penn's Institute on Aging is once again hosting both a 5K through Penn Park and a serene 1-mile walk through Penn's shaded campus. Penn Park- easily accessible by South Street Bridge- offers unique views of the city skyline, while traversing through maintained green space. Likewise, dogs and strollers are welcomed on the Memory Walk through Penn's historic campus. Join your neighbors and register today to support this leading national facility on age-related research!
CLASSICAL MUSIC CONCERT AT THE ACAD OF VOCAL ARTS, MON, 9/21, 7:30 PM, 1920 SPRUCE ST
Come hear the The Wister Quartet as they perform:
Haydn, String Quartet, "La Chasse"
Lloyd Smith, Piano Quartet, Op. 20
Schubert, "Death and the Maiden" Quartet
Ticket prices are $17 each. Click here to purchase tickets and to view the season schedule.
TEEN READING LOUNGE RETURNS TO PHILA CITY INS LIBRARY, TUES AFTERNOONS, 3:30-5:30 PM
Attention teens in grades 7-12! Are you looking for a community service opportunity this year? Are you passionate about your world and your future? Do you enjoy reading and want to hang out with other teens that also enjoy reading and talking about books? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider joining Teen Reading Lounge (TRL) at the Philadelphia City Institute Library. TRL will meet throughout the 2015-2016 school year for a series of interesting discussions, creative activities and awesome guest speakers. Experience your favorite books in a whole new way. Please stop by the Adult Reference Desk or call 215-685-6621 for dates and details. Registration for this program is required. Teen Reading Lounge is a program of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities.