likely familiar with the $15 million donation to Philly private and
parochial schools jointly made by comedian Kevin Hart, rapper Meek Mill
and Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin.
all agree that the $15M is a sizable sum, not all agree that it’s the
best of expenditures education-wise. In the Inquirer, Kearny Friends
President Stephanie King would have preferred it go to public schools,
while columnist Jenice Armstrong doesn’t believe critics get to tell
successful people how and where to spend their money.
education is full of complexity. These complexities (and more) will be
explored in depth as part of the next segment of CCRA’s series “Sense in
the City”to be held at noon on Feb. 9.
special exception (for the Bankroll Project proposed for the site of
the Boyd Theater and the Gap on Chestnut Street) was approved
unanimously by the ZBA. The project features a Steven Starr
sports-themed restaurant. In response to some concerns about potential
negative impacts on near-neighbors and Center City West in general, CCRA
appointed a “Stakeholders’ Group” to hear neighborhood concerns and
negotiate an agreement to address them. A far-reaching Memorandum of
Agreement was reached and the CCRA Board considered it at its November
meeting and approved it by a 28-1 vote.
the ZBA hearing, the Board was anxious to hear from CCRA about the
negotiated agreement. President Rick Gross testified about the
extensive community process undertaken by CCRA to evaluate the project.
He also testified about the agreement’s many terms intended to
alleviate any adverse effects which might result from this large
restaurant facility. He also stressed that CCRA had taken steps to
insure that the location would never be the site of gaming, including
the recording of a deed restriction to that effect by the property
owners. Finally, he detailed the extensive enforcement provisions in
the agreement should, despite well-founded expectations to the contrary,
any problems with noise, congestion or patron conduct occur. In
addition to CCRA’s support, several experts testified that the fears of
some in the community about the project were not likely to materialize.
The Philadelphia City Planning Commission also testified in support of
was opposition to the project from the board of the William Penn
House, whose President and experts testified that, although the
Memorandum of Agreement was thorough and well-crafted, they still feared
negative consequences. Based on the final ZBA vote, it was not
persuaded by these arguments.
CCRA looks forward to the revitalization of the Boyd Theater after decades of disuse.
a more detailed discussion of this issue, see the President’s Letter in
the upcoming Center City Quarterly. To read the Memorandum of
Agreement, click here.
CCRA News and Events
Sense in the City - An Urban Conversation
Join Hugh Taft Morales of the Philadelphia Ethical Society for the second Sense in the City discussion: EQUITY, PUBLIC SCHOOLS and DEMOCRACY. Wednesday, Feb 9, Noon to 1:30 PM. Register HERE.
Let’s brainstorm about the following challenges to our democracy:
should we think of the public school system? Are flourishing schools
for all fundamental for the future of democracy? How should we approach
equity in funding, given that schools in wealthy areas often are better
funded and have additional support through extra fundraising programs?
What is a fair funding formula? What role do charter schools play in our
public dialogue about education? How should schools be structured so
that they prepare young people to be engaged citizens?
CCRA JEDI Chair
(Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion)
CCRA Public Zoning Committee Meeting
On Tuesday, January 25, CCRA held its monthly public zoning committee meeting. The meeting is available on our
The next zoning committee is scheduled for Tuesday, February 22, at 7 pm. via Zoom.
Are you using the Merchant Partner 'Deals and Discounts' Program?
We would like to hear from our members! Please take this very brief surveyand let us know your thoughts, so that we may improve on this popular membership benefit program. Thanks much!
CCRA MERCHANT PARTNER SPOTLIGHT
Merchant Partner program is a true Win-Win: It provides smaller local
businesses with complementary advertising and exposure while giving CCRA
members generous deals and discounts. This week we spotlight
Rittenhouse BYOB Branzino.
'Branzino' is Italian for... Delicious.
Located in the heart of Rittenhouse on 17th below Locust, CCRA Merchant Partner Branzino
offers sumptuous modern Italian cuisine in an expansive Center City
townhouse that features a lovely private garden in the outdoor patio out
back. The BYOB’s food is flavorful and exquisitely presented by the
warm and accommodating staff. And, as a CCRA Merchant Partner, Branzino
offers 10% off for both indoor and outdoor garden dining and pickup for
orders directly telephoned into the restaurant. (Note: The discount
does not apply to third-party delivery services.)
10% off and a BYOB? What are you waiting for?
Clean, Safe and Green
Miles to go before we sleep….well?
The winter frost puts extra strain on the city’s aging water pipes. Read this
to see how many “miles to go” the city has to replace old water pipes
that could break- and result in a repeat flood like the disaster in
Kensington. Robert Frostsaid it all…..
Affected by the PES Explosion?
You’ll likely recall the explosions and fires at the former PES site in South Philly in June of 2019.
latest on that is that Hilco Development Partners has purchased the
1,300-acre site with plans to develop it into a major commercial hub to
be called The Bellwether District.
that end, environmental remediation is ongoing. The Clean Air Council
is interested in speaking with nearby residents who are concerned
regarding the specifics of the cleanup effort.
Where’s the Bus? My School? My House? Afghan Resettlement, HIAS, and Philly
with pride and exasperation of the Philadelphia experience for our
newest Afghan refugees and the helping hand offered by HIAS and so many
other Philly folks. Click here to follow their new life in Northeast Philly.
And don’t forget to ask about the newest flavor: Adventurefuls!
Rumor has it that it’s a caramel-flavored crème with a dash of sea salt.
Pass the milk, please!
Get a Bird’s Eye View
seems like you have to travel a bit further from the city to do
something Covid sensible (outdoors) and fun. And you can experience the Eagle Festival 2022virtually or in person at many sites in the Pinelands of South Jersey.
Check out the Barn Owls, take a guided walk, and let us know if you run into the Jersey Devil.
Workaround for Covid Tests Delivery to Apartments
Dwight Evans’ email advises that although "...... some Philadelphians
who live in apartments have reported difficulties with the website,
there are work-arounds. For example, you can include your apartment
number in the FIRST address line instead – or in the apartment field,
type APT followed by your apartment number. To order your
delivery, click here.
also a phone option for ordering the free tests: you can call
1-800-232-0233 to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other
languages. This line is open 8 a.m. to midnight Eastern Time, seven days
a week. There’s also TTY line (1-888-720-7489) to support access by
home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home Covid-19
tests. The Postal Service says orders will usually ship in 7-12 days."
In Search of Input re the City’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget
Got ideas about how the City should spend your hard-earned tax dollars?
Of course you do.
Do you wanna tell the City what they can do with it?
now’s your chance, as the City will be running a Virtual Budget Town
Hall on January 27 at 6pm. In addition virtual budget focus groups will
be held between Jan. 31 and Feb. 10.
that the CDC advises against the use of cloth masks, it’s necessary to
up your game regarding what’s a ‘good’ mask and where it can be
found. Easier said than done, however.
Unsurprisingly, not all masks are created equal, the details of which can be found here.
Guidance as to how and where to get yours, please go here.
Merchant Partners "Deals and Discounts" Program
Would you please support our local merchants and save money too? These local merchants will provide a deal or discount to any member who shows a current CCRA membership card and personal identification.