Feb 28: Phase-in AVI? | East Park Leadership and Conservation Center | redevelopment at 27th and Girard | PWD’s rain barrel wraps

Good morning, Streeters. Here’s what’s making news on this last day of February:

In City Council today First District Councilman Mark Squilla will introduce legislation to phase-in the Actual Value Initiative over four years, the Daily News reports. Residents of Squilla’s district will see some of the most dramatic tax increases. But other councilmembers see this move as deferring relief for those whose taxes would go down because of AVI. “It will delay the day of equity,” Fels Institute research consultant Kevin Gillen said. Tonight Councilman Squilla and Councilman Jim Kenney will answer AVI questions at a public meeting at Jefferson Alumni Hall (1020 Locust St) beginning at 7pm.

The idea for an outdoor education center at the East Park Reservoir was floated to residents in Strawberry Mansion at a Parks and Recreation Commission meeting last night, reports the Daily News. The Audubon Society and Outward Bound Philadelphia would build the East Park Leadership and Conservation Center on city-owned land in Fairmount Park, adjacent to a man-made lake maintained by the Water Department. The project will require the city to waive its Open Lands Protection Ordinance (which requires a land swap in exchange for building on city parkland) on the grounds that the facility will be open to the public – a requirement some in attendance were dubious of. The 50-acre area surrounding the reservoir is not currently publicly accessible, but has become important habitat for waterfowl.

That huge vacant lot at 27th and Girard could be developed, reports Naked Philly. Discussions are still early, but MM Partners and American Development Co. envision a four-story building featuring residential units above ground floor retail. So far members of the Fairmount Civic Association’s zoning committee likes what they hear.

PWD’s plain rain barrels could soon be wrapped with rowhouses, umbrellas (with cats and dogs of course), or abstract washes of blue and green. These three designs won out in a public vote held over the last month. The student winners will be honored on March 14 at the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center.

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

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