Good morning, Streeters. Here’s what we’re reading this morning:
All us do-right Philadelphians are chumps. At least that’s how Daily News columnist Helen Ubiñas thinks we seem in light of our politicians who are equally adept at begging for money as squandering it. “Between lack of tax collection, gifts to bumbling nonprofits, overtime pension payouts and civil-rights lawsuits, it's no wonder we're in the state we're in,” Ubiñas writes. How can we cry poverty when politicians spend lavishly on pet projects (or worse) or leave uncollected taxes on the table, all without consequences? “It's us chumps who have to deal, and pay, for their screwups.”
What’s up with the Francisville’s gap-toothed construction boom? Who’s the holdout owner of many undeveloped properties: The City of Philadelphia. Why? Redevelopment Authority spokesman Paul Chrystie said certain lots are not for sale. Why? Chrystie said: "Councilman [Darrell] Clarke has identified a number of properties in the Fifth District that he would prefer not be sold for one of the following reasons: 1) the property is in an area that does not yet have an adopted district plan, and he does not want to see uses that may contradict a future planning goal; 2) he is concerned about income diversity in appreciating neighborhoods; and 3) he is concerned about an influx of college students in residential neighborhoods.” That means certain properties are not currently available, which explains the gap-toothed pattern of development but that's hardly a long-term strategy. The Land Bank cannot come soon enough.
Pennsylvania’s infrastructure earned a C- from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Keystone Crossroads reports. The good news: There’s a ton of potential jobs and community improvements that could come of this crisis. The bad news: we’re crumbling and there’s not enough money to pay for upgrades. Act 89, the recently passed state transportation-funding bill, should help improve matters.
Three Philly projects were awarded ArtPlace America grants this week, Generocity reports. The grantees: Asian Arts Initiative and Center for Architecture will transform Pearl Street as the DeisgnPhiladelphia PopUp Place ($644,885), Center City District Foundation will put its grant toward Janet Echelman’s Pulse ($130,000), and Village of Arts and Humanities’ artists-in-residency program also received support ($280,000).
Philly’s bike share system could mean low-cost transportation liberation for the city’s low-income residents. But just how that will work without credit cards is still a work in progress, reports Philly Weekly.
An organic grocer has set up a new stand in the Italian Market, Passyunk Post noticed. It’s an early sign of progress in efforts, which EOTS first reported last year, to diversity the market’s offerings and fill up vacant stands.