Holy smokes, Streeters: Happy July! Here's your Tuesday morning buzz:
Thanks to the Actual Value Initiative 54% of Philadelphia’s residential property owners paid higher taxes, the Daily News reports. Only 30% of property owners eligible for the homestead exemption, which cuts $30,000 off city assessments for primary residences, have applied. Commercial property owners paid 57% more. (Also unfortunate: The Daily News requested information about tax bills for three months. Finance Director Rob Dubow“provided the figures yesterday after being told the newspaper planned to publish a story on the administration's reluctance to release them.”)
Philadelphia celebrated a $30 million federal grant to tear down the Norris Apartments, and replace the public housing complex with new and refurbished homes in North Central Philadelphia, and augment that investment with job training and neighborhood improvements. CBS3 reports Philadelphia was one of three cities to receive a Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grant. [Press Release here]
Rather than make a real deal that eases Harrisburg’s thin finances and helps Philly’s schools, Patrick Kerkstra writes Governor Corbett and PA House Republicans tried to mug Philadelphia late Sunday night. Corbett gave city Democrats an ultimatum, pinning Philly Democrats into a corner: Vote for pension reforms and he will enable the city to put a higher tax on cigarettes for the schools. But it didn’t have to be this way. Kerkstra writes: “There’s the potential here for a grand deal, one that offers a lot to all sides. Republicans would get liquor privatization and meaningful pension reform, city Democrats would get more state and local funding for schools, as well as more state revenue overall.”
The city closed on its sale of the garage below LOVE Park for $29.6 million to InterPark, the Business Journal reports. The garage was built in 1964 and has 810 spaces.
We recently praised the beautiful copper domes installed on the former Chevra B’nai Ruben synagogue, which you may recognize as the Antiquarian’s Delight, on South 6th Street. Sadly our enthusiasm has been quashed. As part of the Fetfatzes family’s conversion of the building to residential use, Hidden City Daily reports crews have filed off (and now covered up) the Jewish iconography and Hebrew on the historic former synagogue’s façade. We hope this cover-up is not motivated by the sense that the building’s expressions of it’s Jewish past would somehow make it less marketable. (Repugnant logic.) We also would point the Fetfatzes, who own the Bainbridge Street Barrel House and Bella Vista Beer Distributors, to the converted synagogues, schools, and other institutions in Queen Village that found residential success with their Hebrew heritage fully visible and intact.