November 3: Flexing civic muscles | Regional rail report card | Competition, subsidies

Topics of regional significance and repercussions in the news today:

Winner! In the competition that had the mayor and all the major news outlets tweeting up a storm, Germantown CDC wins Partners in Preservation: Main Streets with the most votes and $150,000 in preservation grant funding! For more from Germantown’s perspective, check out Dana DiFilippo’s article for PlanPhilly. As they say at the Oscars, it was an honor to even be nominated. In Germantown’s case, this was the only neighborhood in Pennsylvania to even make it in the running in the $2 million voting challenge. 

On the power of collaboration and regional economic development: in this week’s Present Value, Econsult Solutions’ VP Steve Wray goes into the value of competitive bids for regions. Wray looks at the past 11 years of bids for conferences and conventions, and explains why each competition is an intense examination of a region’s assets and liabilities, outsiders’ perception, and “an opportunity to flex civic muscles on regional collaboration and fundraising.”

And oh hey, speaking of tax subsidies for the promise of ‘game changing’ developments and Philadelphia fame, what’s the impact of the Eagles for Philly’s economy? WHYY News’ Aaron Moselle takes a look at the role of sports teams in a city’s economy. In short, “experts say nothing.” On the stadium economy up to the national level, Malcolm Burnley looked at President Obama’s attempt to hammer down tax-exempt bonds used to subsidize big arenas.

When SEPTA Key comes to Regional Rail, will it help the “bewildering boarding policy during rush hour” that riders complain about? Jason Laughlin, Justine McDaniel, and Dylan Purcell look at how new technology stacks up on their railroad report card.  

With Election Day coming up next week, people are asking more questions about the Homestead Exclusion Act ballot question. For an explainer, City and State Pennsylvania’s Ryan Briggs speaks about the proposed statewide amendment intended to reduce property taxes on WHYY’s Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane. For a quick general election guide, check out Nick Marzano’s rundown for the Philadelphia Citizen.

PlanPhilly is a public media project at WHYY that provides watchdog coverage on planning, design, development, sustainability, and transportation. Our work is made possible thanks to support from readers like you. Please consider making a donation to support public journalism.

About the author

Diana Lu, Community Engagement Editor

Diana runs PlanPhilly’s community outreach and engagement online and in real life. She has spent more than ten years in the non-profit and public sectors working on urban development issues including environmental justice, design-based manufacturing, and community and economic development.  Prior to joining PlanPhilly, Diana worked as the Director of Partnerships and Outreach for 10,000 Small Businesses, a public-private initiative focused strengthening local businesses through revenue generation and local job creation.  Follow Diana on instagram @dianaluwho and email her at

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    Photo Credit: Emma Lee / WHYY

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