Good morning! Don’t forget your umbrella today; it’s going to be rainy (sleetier?) and colder than yesterday.
This evening Parks and Rec will hold a meeting at Lloyd Hall to discuss Temple’s proposal to build a new boathouse on Fairmount Park land near the Strawberry Mansion Bridge. Temple’s rowers used to use the East Park Canoe House, until it was deemed unsafe. As the Daily News reports, the proposal tests the city’s new Open Lands Protection law, which stipulates that if publicly owned park land is used for construction, a different, equal new green space must be provided. Instead Temple is pledging $1.5 million toward fixing the Canoe House. But park advocates aren’t persuaded, saying there shouldn’t be any loss of park land. Let the city know what you think of this plan at tonight’s meeting at Lloyd Hall (1 Boathouse Row, starts at 6pm).
Mayor Nutter established new task force that will develop a strategy to boost the city’s manufacturing sector, reports the Inquirer. The group of up to 25 members will be tasked with studying the challenges manufacturers face and make recommendations about how to help the sector grow. Mayor Nutter signed an executive order Tuesday to create the task force.
On Tuesday the L&I Review Board held yet another hearing (perhaps the penultimate) in the appeal of the Historical Commission’s hardship finding for 40th and Pine. PlanPhilly’s Jared Brey continues to follow the case, and reports that one more witness, developer Jonathan Weiss needs to be called before the board makes its decision. Remember that Penn owns an historic but badly altered Italianate mansion-turned-scary-nursing-home at 40th and Pine, which they are seeking to demolish in favor of building a five-story residential building geared at graduate student housing. Regardless of the outcome before the L&I Review Board, another appeal is expected.
Last summer the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority selected developer Jonathan Weiss’s Equinox Management & Construction to redevelop a largely vacant Francisville block, and on Tuesday the Planning Commission voted in favor of the agreement, reports Jared Brey. Weiss (yes, the same developer as above) has proposed 29 new residential units for the 1700 block of Folsom Street. The development would feature two multi-family buildings and 21 single-family houses with green roofs and solar panels, and parking spaces for cars (11) and bikes (30). Weiss anticipates acquiring the land officially this spring and breaking ground immediately.
The Inquirer checks in on PhillyRising’s work in Point Breeze, catching up with Adé Fuqua from the Managing Director’s Office. Volunteers, city agencies and the police have been working together since fall 2011 to make this part of Point Breeze a safer neighborhood. So far PhillyRising has launched the Philadelphia Youth Music Program, removed 15 tons of debris from alleys, and encouraging participation by community members. On Martin Luther King Day volunteers will give Ralph Brooks play lot a facelift.