RECAP: Looking back on the week that was
• ‘Latino town hall’ takes place on sidewalk
A purported Latino mayoral town hall denounced by Democratic nominee Cherelle Parker as a “hoax” ended up happening on the sidewalk outside its intended location, per the Inquirer, after listed host USALA Media locked the doors saying it had nothing to do with the event. Republican nominee David Oh — who attended and spoke with about 30 attendees — has been trying to get Parker to agree to a debate. Parker did make a public speech last week, at the massive SEIU workers rally in Center City.
[Billy Penn/Inquirer$/Billy Penn/WHYY]
• Plans revealed for new African American Museum
After a decade in the works, the renovation of the former Family Court on the Ben Franklin Parkway has a firm path forward, and it includes a brand new building for the African American Museum. The museum’s new home will rise next to the main structure — a historic columned building that mirrors the nearby Parkway Central Library, which will be adapted into a 200-room hotel. Construction will take a while; the earliest target completion date is 2028.
• I-95 collapse site gets new steel beams
Along with a few traffic delays, last week brought a milestone in the reconstruction of the I-95 overpass that collapsed after a tractor-trailer explosion in June: the installation of the first steel beams. They’ll serve as the base for crews to begin rebuilding the permanent roadway as cars continue to flow over the temporary fix that’s been in place since two weeks after the calamity.
• Two Jim’s Steaks reopenings? Maybe not
Jim’s Steaks on South Street, the late-night favorite and “Philly Taco” contributor, announced it’s targeting an October relaunch after being gutted by a fire last summer. On the heels of that news came a surprise: Someone is planning to reopen a Jim’s Steaks in its original West Philadelphia location. …Or not. The family that recently sold the building apparently put a clause in the deed that it cannot be turned into a Jim’s, and sent a cease and desist letter about the idea.
[BP 2018/BP 2022/KYW/Philly Mag$]
VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead
• School begins with heat wave dismissals
With a predicted heat wave bringing above-90 degree temps, many Philly public school students will have early dismissals during their first week back in class. The district has so far adjusted Tuesday and Wednesday schedules for 74 schools with “inadequate cooling.” If you’re feeling deja vu, yes — the same thing happened last year. Refitting the city’s aging school buildings with modern HVAC isn’t slated to be complete until 2027.
[PhillyVoice/Phila SD/BP 2022/Inquirer$]
• Design concepts for the ‘Chinatown Stitch’
The plan to reconnect the two halves of Chinatown split by the Vine Street Expressway moves into its second phase Tuesday, as city officials introduce three concepts for the park cap over I-676, based on community feedback. The design work is being paid for by a federal grant, but construction — targeted to begin in 2028 — is not yet funded.
[BP 2022/Phila Gov/WHYY]
• First Amendment exhibit opens at Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center on Independence Mall is already home to a 50-ton marble slab engraved with the text of the First Amendment, relocated from the facade of DC’s erstwhile Newseum. This week it opens an entire gallery dedicated to the first item in the Bill of Rights, with 1,500 square feet of artifacts highlighting all five freedoms enshrined therein. We’ll be there for the launch and will publish a recap of the exhibit.
• Fringe Festival returns with 290+ shows
A quarter-century after the first edition featured 60 performances in Old City, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival has grown to include more than 290 independently produced shows. They take over venues both traditional and unique, starting Thursday and continuing through Sept. 24. Some are ticketed, some are free, others help you find a date. Not sure how to approach the bounty of events? Stay tuned for our guide.
[Philly Fringe/WHYY/BP 2022]
Bonus reminder that this week also brings the official groundbreaking for Park at Penn’s Landing, which will cap a segment of I-95 and reconnect Center City to the Delaware River waterfront. [Billy Penn]
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