RECAP: Looking back on the week that was
• RCOs oppose Sixers arena as study touts benefits
It was a busy week for opinions on the proposed Sixers arena in Center City. On the pro side, the development could spur long-needed revitalization of the fallow Market East corridor, per a master plan released by the Center City District. But three Democratic voting wards and two registered community orgs (RCOs) in Councilmember Squilla’s 1st District came out against building 76 Place. Along with worries about harming Chinatown, they cited a desire to keep all teams playing in South Philly.
[WHYY’s PlanPhilly/CCD/PlanPhilly/Billy Penn]
• Philly School District has a hiring problem
Our story about an enthusiastic teacher who’s been trying to get a job in Philadelphia’s public schools spurred a bunch of messages from others who say they’ve faced the same issue: despite having necessary qualifications, they’ve applied but never heard back. Bogged down by hundreds of unfilled positions, the district is aware of the problem, per a spokesperson, and is working to “streamline” the hiring process.
• SEPTA strike averted with last-minute deal
Facing a Halloween deadline for contract renewal, and a threatened strike if nothing was resolved, SEPTA and its largest union on Friday reached a tentative agreement for a one-year deal. It includes across-the-board wage increases for members of TWU Local 234, plus signing and retention bonuses and boosts for the pension program. SEPTA is already dealing with a chronic operator shortage that often disrupts service.
[Billy Penn/6ABC/Billy Penn]
• FDR Park gets a snazzy new playground
City kids have a new destination, thanks to the opening of Verna Playground at FDR Park. There are big treehouse climbing structures, log scrambles, and big covered metal slides. Even if you don’t have little ones, the mega swing-set that forms a centerpiece at the South Philly play space has enough grown-up seats that it could easily double as a good date night stop.
VISION: Looking forward to the week ahead
• Watch out, bus lane parkers
Drivers who stop in the bus lanes on Chestnut and Walnut in Center City or park at bus stops in other neighborhoods are about to be on the hook for tickets even if a PPA officer isn’t nearby. City Council passed the bill that allows ticketing based on the AI-assisted cameras mounted on SEPTA buses, which detected over 36,000 violations over the course of a three-month test run.
• FOP to choose new leader
Under the leadership of John McNesby, who took the helm in 2007, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 has become one of the loudest voices in city politics — as well as one of the most controversial. Would the police union and its fraught relationship with the city be different without him? We’ll get to find out. McNesby on Friday announced his resignation, and this week the FOP meets to choose a successor.
• Tubman statue artist reveal
A year after issuing an open call for artists to create a permanent statue of Harriet Tubman at Philadelphia City Hall, city arts officials are ready to announce their selection at a Monday morning press conference. The decision considered input from residents, who were invited to weigh in on the five finalists and their varied preliminary designs.
[Phila Gov/Billy Penn]
• Halloween, and we’ve got costume ideas
If you’re still looking for a costume for happenings this week, we’re thrilled to bring back a Billy Penn tradition: A guide to DIY outfits that are easy to put together and have a very Philly vibe. From the I-95 livestream to the Brotherly Shove and Wawa pizza to the Route 15 trolley, here’s how to make them happen. And don’t miss the video where we show them all off.
Catch up on the previous week
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