April 26: PHA to pay up, regain local control | Old City Civic Association disbands costly committees | Rowan University considers eminent domain | Greenery may lower crime | New South Street businesses

The Philadelphia Housing Authority has been called to pay up. PHA will need to payback $8 million that it spent on outside lawyers and that a federal audit recently deemed unnecessary and unreasonable, the Inquirer reports. HUD will also return control of PHA to the local board of commissioners, thus ending PHA’s two-year federal oversight period. 

The Inquirer reports that the Old City Civic Association (OCCA) “waved a white flag yesterday,” when it disbanded its development and liquor committees and cited expensive liability insurance as its reasoning. Recently, OCCA has faced three lawsuits, two by businesses fighting liquor-license transfers and a third by neighbors who opposed plans for the World Trade Center of Philadelphia. Despite this change, OCCA will continue its community outreach and improvement programs. 

Rowan University is considering using eminent domain in Camden, where it plans to build a parking garage with street-level shops behind the new Cooper Medical School. The Inquirer reports eminent domain would be a last resort, and nine of the 10 lots where it might be applied are vacant. In total, Rowan is in negotiations with owners of 22 properties. 

NewJerseySpotlight.com has released an interactive map of New Jersey’s structurally deficient bridges. The map is based on an inventory of almost 6,600 bridges in the state. Just over nine percent of the bridges were deemed structurally deficient. Another 16.3 percent were deemed functionally obsolete.  

Abundant, well maintained greenery may foster community and prevent neighborhood crime, a new Temple University study suggests. According to NewsWorks, the study finds greenery may encourage neighbors to interact with each other outside. This interaction leads to a sense of community, and community members are then more likely to keep their eyes on the street, a safeguard against crime. 

Two new businesses have opened on South Street west of Broad, and NakedPhilly has details. Neighborhood Books recently opened its doors on the 1900 block of South Street. The new, used bookstore is the first business to open on the block since Spool opened years ago. A block away at 1824, Raw’s former master sushi chef opened Kidari Sushi, the neighborhood’s newest BYO sushi spot. 

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest. Have a tip? Send it along.

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