November 6: Uniquely awkward position | Swing bridge economic development | Wissahickon industrial history

Congressional Republicans’ preliminary plan tax plan would levy a 1.4 percent tax on many private colleges and universities in the Philadelphia region, WHYY News’ Laura Benshoff reports. The tax, which would pull from endowment investment income for schools with at least the equivalent of $100,000 in endowment per full-time student, would apply to private schools in the area including Swarthmore College, Thomas Jefferson University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton University.

Wolf’s recent approval to create 10 new mini-casinos has mixed reviews from cities. Businesses and officials consider the pros—advocates say casinos bring tax revenue, tourism, jobs, and “spin-off economic development,” vs. the cons—Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray calls gambling revenue a “regressive fee on the hopes of poor people.” Casinos consider a potential new market share stream vs. “threat to its business” in this “uniquely awkward position.” Municipalities can vote to create or ban mini-casinos

On the economic development opportunities from Conrail’s donation of the Schuylkill River Swing Bridge to the city: if previous developments along the river trail can be any indicator, the gift brings more than just a passageway between Gray’s Ferry Crescent Trail and Bartram’s Mile. PIDC’s John Grady says that since PCPC adopted Lower Schuylkill Master Plan, “nearly $100 million of private investment has occurred along the lower river.” Grady highlighted new facilities, infrastructure, and nearly 65 new companies built around the Schuylkill River Trail.

City officials announced the plan to move the Rizzo statue to an as-yet undetermined location Friday. WHYY News’ Dana DiFilippo and Tom MacDonald speak with the late mayor’s family members, sculptor Zenos Frudakis, and Black Lives Matter organizer Asa Khalif about the decision.

Did you know, the Wissahickon Creek once housed about 50 watermills manufacturing textiles, paper, and lumber? Green Philly Blog goes into a bit of history of Wissahickon Valley Park. For more on the Wissahickon Gateway Multi-Modal Improvement Plan, check out our recap of SEPTA and the Planning Commission’s recent open house.

November is PlanPhilly’s annual membership drive! We are 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. Plus, any donation puts you in a drawing for a one-year membership to the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia!

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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