In Mantua, “All Things Considered”

 

A man pops a wheelie at 34th & Haverford in Mantua. | Photo: Will Figg, for NPR

A man pops a wheelie at 34th & Haverford in Mantua. | Photo: Will Figg, for NPR

  • NPR brings its listeners to Mantua, specifically the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships on the 3500 block of Spring Garden Street, a renovated Italianate mansion that serves as Drexel University’s “olive branch” to this federally designated Promise Zone, beleaguered for so long by poverty and now, the specter of gentrification. Speaking to reporters between bites of chicken marsala and stuffed flounder–a free meal designed to bolster a sense of community–longtime residents admit that, although rents have begun to creep upwards, Drexel’s outreach is greatly appreciated. “These dinners, asking for volunteers, opening up doors and saying, ‘You can help us do this, do that, and do the other thing.’ This helps you become part of the solution!” says neighbor Wade Carter.
  • The 2015 line up of the mayoral race is slowly beginning to finalize and some are underwhelmed by the candidates stated visions for Philadelphia. Citified’s Patrick Kerkstra has called the campaign thus far “vacuous” of substance. Yet, as Jon Geeting of Plan Philly points out , we at least have an idea of councilman-at-large and candidate-in-waiting Jim Kenney’s city planning values and priorities. We know Kenney to be motivated to expedite the redevelopment of blighted former industrial buildings, cognizant of just how woefully underfunded the Historic Commission is, peeved at developers’ unwillingness to bend to the public’s desire for an accessible Delaware waterfront, and, finally, responsive to the needs of pedestrians–in 2008 he pushed to free up sidewalks from unwarranted construction obstacles. He also has been outspoken about ending the unsightly City Hall Parking Lot.
  • The City has introduced a revised version of its website that aims to be “simple, crisp, respectful, and delightful”. The site is an alpha stage prototype that is currently crowdsourcing suggestions for improvements. City promotional materials state, “Instead of working behind closed doors and making the public wait for a grand reveal, we will build out in the open… The goal is to show you, our neighbors, where we’re starting and allow you to follow our progress. It gives you the opportunity to have input.”
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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