Slow Build On Graterford Replacement


“John Wetzel at the Harrisburg Community Corrections Center in Harrisburg, Pa.” | Photo: David Swanson, for The Inquirer

“John Wetzel at the Harrisburg Community Corrections Center in Harrisburg, Pa.” | Photo: David Swanson, for The Inquirer

  • Graterford Prison’s replacement is a long time coming, reports The Inquirer’s Joe DiStefano. The firm hired back in 2012 to coordinate construction of State Correctional Institution Phoenix (designed to house close to 4,000 inmates, it will be the Commonwealth’s largest—by last year, “blew through another deadline” last week, has racked up nearly $12 million late delivery fees. It won’t be ready by January at the earliest. Local officials are being kept in the dark. “I have no idea what the hell is going on,” said State Rep. Mike Vereb (R., Collegeville), whose district includes the Graterford and Phoenix prison sites. “I’m obviously concerned.” State Corrections Commissioner John Wetzel, once a budget-weary skeptic, has grown to appreciate that Phoenix’s modern design will invariably save the taxpayer a few dollars. 
  • Upgrades to Firehouse Park at 4th & Arch Streets were unveiled yesterday, reports the Philadelphia Business Journal. With gates and walls removed, the 5,580-square-foot space is now more visible to the public, and thanks to Comcast, provides WiFi to any techies stopping by on their way to or from N3rd Street.
  • The Frank Shuman Sol­ar Art Park­let opened in the parking spaces in front of the Tacony Library and Arts (LAB) Building at 6918 Torresdale Avenue last week, reports the Northeast Times. The small gathering space honors the legacy of solar energy pioneer and Tacony resident Frank Shuman.
  • Naked Philly previews renderings, Cecil Baker + Partners, for an apartment tower proposed for 1324 North Broad Street, scheduled for the Zoning Board’s consideration today. Its developers plan to demolish a building at Broad & Master Streets that now stores the set-building materials for the adjacent Freedom Theatre, then to “construct a 17-story tower with 180 apartments, 13 parking spaces accessed from Carlisle Street, and a bilevel retail space on Broad Street.”
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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