"Keep your crown up" (Instagram/ @wmdkenner/@bklvisions)

City Council pressures school district over facilities crisis

The Philly School District will begin developing a “master plan” to deal with its aging facilities, something city officials have been asking for since at least March. That’s what Superintendent Watlington promised during yesterday’s City Council hearing, as he pushed back on the idea to create an “independent authority” that would bond and oversee school buildings — which average 70 years old.

Also testifying yesterday were facilities experts, union leaders, and a Frankford High student. Fallon Roth has four takeaways from what they said.

Families pass chalk greetings on the first day of school at Greenberg Elementary in Bustleton. (Elizabeth DeOrnellas for Billy Pennr)

The extensive Holocaust memorial hiding in plain sight

When you go to Love Park, you might be inclined to look over toward City Hall. But the next time you’re there, try turning around and looking in the other direction. The triangle of land across the street is Philadelphia’s Holocaust Memorial Plaza, a public space where people can reflect on and learn about the events of the Holocaust through various displays.

It’s unassuming, but getting a big new mural soon, and it’s packed with info, Asha Prihar reports — plus there’s an app you can download for even more.

The Horowitz-Wasserman Holocaust Memorial Plaza at 16th and Arch in Center City, Philadelphia. (Asha Prihar/Billy Penn)

RECAP: What else happened?

$ = paywalled

• As Donald Trump faces more criminal charges over his role in trying to overturn the 2020 election results, his “fake electors” in Pennsylvania might avoid prosecution. [Votebeat] 

• Late yesterday, Pa. Senate President Pro Tempore Ward called the chamber back to session today at 1 p.m. with the goal of finalizing the state budget. [Capital-Star]

• Someone has been mass reporting Philly sidewalk cafes to 311. People are split on whether user “FD22” is a hero or threat to a pleasant amenity of summer life in the city. [Inquirer$/reddit]

• Mural Arts’ Kensington Storefront, which closed in 2021, has been memorialized in a new documentary that’s helping inspire community activists to bring it back to life. [BP 2021/WHYY]

• The New York Times publishes an ode to Philly’s rec centers, thanks to Philadelphia Poet Laureate Airea D. Matthews and photographer Adrian Eli René. [NYT$]

• A defense of the annual 50k Rocky Run from one of its creators: it’s fun, it makes a stop at Stock’s for donuts, and it’s definitely not organized by corporate-connected influencers, like another race that popped up. [Defector]


Nothing on the public schedule today for Mayor James Francis Kenney.


🏛 Billy Penn event: Pull out your thinking cap, because this month’s BP Quizzo is landing at the Divine Lorraine on North Broad. We’ll have lots of happy hour specials, and prizes for the winners. Space is limited, so RSVP today. (6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 24) 

🎨 The Tacony LAB Community Arts Center hosts a First Friday mosaic dedication ceremony for the Mural Arts outpost, complete with refreshments for all who attend. (5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4)

🌼 The team behind Honeysuckle Projects joins the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia at Grant Blvd. in West Philly to host a free mixer and conversation on wage equity, entrepreneurship, and pathways to sustaining Black wealth. (5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8)

📖 Billy Penn is proud to headline the inaugural Philly Story Fest, joining journalists from media outlets around Philadelphia to tell the city’s best stories on stage at the Bok. Early bird tix are $17. (7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5)