Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey did the near-impossible last week:
rid the team (and the City) of the nightmare known as Ben Simmons, and
in return he added a player who gives the Sixers a legit shot at an NBA
Championship this season.
How did he pull this off? With pixie dust and magic?
No. He did it by being purposeful, persistent and patient.
It’s a winning gameplan that spans all disciplines.
May our elected officials take heed.
How CCRA Looks at Development in our Neighborhood
week the Inquirer reported on controversy in the Fishtown Neighbors
Association between those who prefer new development to those who
believe they’ve had enough already. As CCRA has a very active role in
the growth of Center City West, we thought we would explain our overall
approach to our members.
you are aware, Center City is a wonderful urban mix, both
architecturally and demographically. From the Fitler Square low-rises
to the Rittenhouse Square hi-rises to the Market St and JFK “canyons”,
one finds residences, office buildings, stores and restaurants scattered
throughout, all to be enjoyed by young families, urban singles, tenants
and owners, empty nesters and retirees. It is precisely this mix that
needs to be balanced as we consider new development projects which are
proposed to be built among us.
approach is to utilize a Stakeholder’s process to balance competing
interests. While commercial development is an important driver to the
Center City economy – it contributes over 40% of the revenue to fund the
City – at the same time it can create issues like congestion, green
canopy reduction and increased parking demand, to name just a few. Our
job is to work with the development community to bring these concerns
to bear on their projects.
Stakeholder’s approach was first used for a proposed tower at 19th and
Chestnut which many felt was inappropriate for a number of reasons. A
group of residents from neighboring buildings worked with the developers
and an architect they mutually engaged to redesign and reposition the
building to harmonize it in the community. The result was The Harper,
considered one of the best new projects in Rittenhouse. Similarly with
The Laurel, where CCRA and neighboring stakeholders engaged with the
developers to create a shared architectural vision, the result of which
is a building applauded by neighbors when it was introduced five years
efforts have morphed into a series of major development task forces,
appointed by the President of CCRA, to include members throughout the
neighborhood with expertise in architecture, green elements, water
run-off control and reduction of congestion, the goal being to harmonize
the building within the neighborhood and to make it a benefit to the
community as a whole, while respecting the developers’ economic needs.
globally, we have worked closely with the Building Industries
Association on a proposal to preserve the human scale of Rittenhouse
Row, (Chestnut, Samson and Walnut Streets east of 19th Street) by
adjusting zoning controls. We will shortly announce the details of this
unusual agreement which BIA, CCRA and other civic groups and the
Philadelphia City Planning Commission will jointly propose to City
Council. This multi-year effort will protect us far into the future.
and of great import, is our commitment to the development of low- and
moderate-income housing in connection with major projects, and a
verifiable effort to employ minority and women-owned workers and
businesses in the developments. In this way CCRA becomes a force for
diversity and equity in a community – and a city -- which certainly
of the forgoing takes great volunteer effort, but the results are worth
it. New buildings are being proposed and built which enhance the built
environment and minimize adverse effects. We have shown that a
cooperative effort by residents of many constituencies can work with
developers for mutual benefit. We have been successful enough that the
proponents of most new projects now reach out to us to engage in
conversations well before zoning and design permissions are sought.
process is transparent, Community Benefits Agreements are posted on our
website before being considered by the CCRA Board, and we welcome
member input in the process. We are confident that this approach will
contribute to a vibrant Center City, of which we can all be proud.
CCRA News and Events
Sense in the City - Homelessness and Humanity
Wednesday, Feb 9, Hugh Taft-Morales led CCRA members and others on a
discussion of the thorny issues around Public Schools, Equity and
Democracy. Although the US talks about the importance of public
education to democracy, how is that actually operationalized? Other
countries guarantee public education in their constitutions; ours is
silent. Here, school funding is unequal, resulting in wide
disparities in facilities, teacher student ratios, and extra-curricular
activities. How can we develop a more equitable system? In large and
small group discussions, these issues were addressed and debated. All
agreed community support for education by the provision of mentors,
internships, guest speakers and field trips to students in underfunded
schools is key. CCRA is actively exploring partnerships with Friere
Charter School, located at 2027 Chestnut Street, so the opportunity to move from talk to action is coming soon.
Please join us for our next discussion in our Sense in the City series, which will be about Homelessness, on February 23 from 12:00 noon until 1:30 PM. For more information and to register, see below.
Homelessness and Humanity
term “homeless” is often used in contexts that blame and demonize
people who are “unhoused,” a term many advocates for those living on our
streets and in our parks prefer. How do we sort out our complex
personal reactions, from compassion and concern to fear and
frustration? How can we humanize this issue? After a brief overview of
some municipal and charitable services available to unhoused people,
Hugh Taft-Morales explores the personal ethical quandaries that confront
us every day. Consider watching the 40-minute Netflix documentary Lead Me Home prior to attending. Click here to check out a few stories from this Telluride Film Fest Netflix short; does this influence your point of view?
its February board meeting, CCRA filled an open position on the Board
of Directors with a neighborhood resident who has been acting as our
liaison with Philadelphia's 9th District Police.
Ceisler Shapiro holds a BA from University of Michigan and an MBA from
the University of Pittsburgh. She has also been active on our
Membership Committee, Center City Coalition, Philadelphia Office of
Homeless Services, InterAct Theatre and a founding member of Philly
Forward PAC. Welcome, Gina!
observance of the Presidents’ Day Holiday, CCRA is closed on Monday,
Feb. 21. The office will reopen on Tuesday, February 22. All emails
and voicemails will be answered when the office reopens.
In observance of the Presidents’ Day Holiday, trash collection is suspended. Collection will resume on Tuesday, February 22.
Public Toilets in Center City?
President Rick Gross was invited along with other neighborhood
representatives to a meeting with the City about a pilot program to
place public toilets (known as the Portland Loo) in Center City.
public toilet program is reminiscent of the City’s Big Belly trash can
program, which to many has produced mixed results at best.
to read of CCRA’s concerns regarding the City’s (mis)management of Big
Belly as well as the City’s lack of due diligence regarding other city’s
experiences with the Portland Loo and its failure to poll local
residents and businesses.
Markward Rec Center building has reopened after flooding closed the
building in the wake of Hurricane Ida. Bathrooms are now accessible
during rec center open hours (10-6pm, Monday - Friday). The Markward
After School program is now utilizing the building and they hope to get
more programs up and running soon.
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 complimentary advertising and exposure while giving CCRA
members generous deals and discounts. This week we spotlight Chestnut
St JewelerWilliam Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry.
All That Glitters is at William Schwartz
but a big-box chain store, William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry is
truly distinctive in that they offer an unusually wide selection of both
unique and custom pieces, and their personal, on-site repairs are done
right the first time with very quick turnaround.
(If you disbelieve, check out the raves on Yelp.)
what could be better, you ask? They offer a 10% discount to CCRA
members. So do please stop by at 1831 Chestnut and say hello to Russell
at William Schwartz Distinctive Jewelry!
Clean, Safe and Green
Green Means GO… To the Movies
The Philadelphia Environmental Film Festival returns in-person starting
March 31 and runs through April 3. Now produced by the Philadelphia
Film Society, the Festival showcases powerful new films with a variety of
the Philadelphia Commission for Women for a one-hour virtual
presentation to commemorate the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman's
post-Civil War advocacy for the right to vote.
The program is also an opportunity to elevate the 200th anniversary of Tubman's birth and to kick-off the commission's Women's History Month series Your Voice. Your Power. Your Vote: Making Democracy Work.
Do you bike for fun, work or exercise? Want safer bike lanes, more connectors, or have a vision to share? Join the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia at the National Bike Summit online, or in person in D.C.
Ride the new Cycle Track between the White House and the Jefferson Memorial. Talk to your legislators about Choosing Our Future. Gear up here.
Is there a Space where Art and Science Meet? See it to Believe it
Feb. 24, walk over to the Mandel Theater for a multi-disciplinary live
performance fusing original music with art, imagery and science to
address global sustainability. Titled Rising Tide: The Crossroads Project,
this one-of-a-kind event features live music, an original score, and
visual imaging, all grounded in science, elevated by art and designed to
ignite a response. Sponsored by the Academy of Natural Sciences, this
program is free, but get your ticket here.
Greene Towne School’s New Home
Towne Montessori School opened in the fall of 1966 at Saint Clement’s
Church, and was founded by parents with the goal to grow a “racially,
religiously, and economically integrated school.”
forward nearly 55 years and two buildings later, Greene Towne is
excited to announce plans to occupy three floors plus an expansive roof
deck at 2140 Arch Street, formerly the Science Leadership Academy, and
across the street from Greene Towne’s East campus at 2121 Arch Street.
This move comes after the West campus at 2215 Arch was lost last September to flooding from Hurricane Ida.
Visit Greene Towne Montessori School here to learn more about the move.
A One Night Ice Piano Pop-Up - We’re Not Kidding
celebrate the final days of the winter season at Dilworth Park, Center
City District has partnered with Ice Sculpture Philly and the Philly
POPS to host a one-night-only pop-up event in the beautiful Wintergarden
on the Greenfield Lawn presented by TD Bank.
Saturday, February 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m., pianist Lonell Johnson will
serenade guests of all ages while playing on a full-size baby grand
piano made entirely from ice. Attendance will be free for everyone. The
evening's performance will be a nod to the POPS' Dancin' in the Streets:
The Music of Motown. The setlist includes hits from Michael Jackson,
Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles and Diana Ross.
Restaurants No Longer Required to Check Vax Status
On Wednesday, 2/16, the City announced
that due to the drop of COVID cases, Philly restaurants no longer have
to check patrons' vaccination status. Masks are still required in all
public settings, including schools.
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.