Defending Wissahickon Playground, budget road shows, new, foreclosure sales, Skanska gets Franklin Institute contract, more Renaissance charters

Germantown’s Westside Neighborhood Council is fighting the plan to scrap the Wissahickon Playground in favor of affordable housing. In an opinion piece in today’s Daily News the Westside Neighborhood Council is calling on Councilwoman Cindy Bass to stop the plan put in motion by her predecessor Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller, and return the playground to Parks and Rec ownership.

City Council will take its budget hearings into the neighborhoods over the next three months. Heard in the Hall reports that the first hearing will be on March 14 at St. John’s AME Church in Southwest Philadelphia. Here’s the full schedule.

Have you seen the new Adel Ebeid, Chief Innovation Officer for the City told Technically Philly, that the city’s main website was redesigned “to demystify the workings of the city and puts it in a form that city constituents can understand.” Mercifully, there are also plans to redesign the sites for L&I and City Planning.

Foreclosed properties accounted for 7% of the region’s real estate sales at the end of 2011, which an Inquirer report attributes to policy changes by some lenders.

The Franklin Institute’s planned Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion will be built by Skanska, a construction company based in Sweden. PhillyDeals reports that construction on the new 53,000 square-foot addition is expected to begin this spring.

Four more public schools will become charter schools, as part of the School District’s troubled-school turnaround Renaissance Schools Initiative. The Notebook explains the road ahead for Grover Cleveland Elementary in Tioga, Henry Edmunds Elementary in Frankford, Thomas Creighton Elementary in Lawncrest, and John Paul Jones Middle School in Kensington.

Was winter over at Halloween? Our only real snowstorm came early, and that’s a relief for municipal budgets. The Inquirer reports that Philadelphia’s snow spending has been $1.5 million, or one tenth of last year’s.


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