December 11: Small business workforce development | Strawberry Mansion, tangled title | Mayors for EV tax credit

Longtime residents of Strawberry Mansion are aware of encroaching private developers and the local CDC is trying to help current homeowners enjoy the benefits of economic development in their neighborhood. Like many homeowners in rapidly changing neighborhoods, Strawberry Mansion residents are struggling with tangled titles, barring them access to bank and city home improvement programs.

On the topic of stabilizing existing communities, the Center for an Urban Future’s Jonathan Bowles and JPMorgan Chase’s Jeanique Riche-Druses make the case for investing in workforce development for small business. The article’s authors cite jobs created by small businesses and the misalignment with workforce development programs that favor bulk job growth and target large companies. In Philadelphia, local resources that are available to small businesses to encourage workforce retention and job creation include PA Career Link, Community College of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Works, and 10,000 Small Businesses.

A coalition of 22 cities, including Philadelphia, have signed on and sent a letter to Congress to protect the federal EV tax credit, writes Green Philly’s Julie Hancher. The GOP tax bill eliminating the credit passed the House, though the Senate passed a bill that retained the credit.

A longstanding church, struggling with a changing neighborhood and a diminishing congregation, sells its building to a local company. Sound familiar? But wait, there’s romance, scandal, and real estate. In the 1870s, the former Old First Reformed Church-United Church of Christ building at 4th and Race Streets passed hands, from the church to industrial paint magnate John Lucas. A saucy estate battle ensued following his death, and, to cut to the 1960s, Old First Reformed actually bought back the building and is still keeping on in Old City today!

Tacony Creek Trail: the city broke ground Thursday on phase two of the pedestrian trail connecting the north and south sections of Tacony Creek Park where it’s cut by Roosevelt Boulevard.

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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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