February 4: Waterfront advocates blast Blatstein | Coryell out as Carpenter’s union head | O’Neill opposes twin-home grocery

Delaware waterfront advocates are blasting the inclusion of strip mall retail, surface parking, and a gas station in Bart Blatstein’s proposal for the Foxwoods site on the Delaware waterfront, reports Jacob Adelman. “It’s a regression, not a progression,” said Drexel University planning expert Harris Steinberg, who as director of PennPraxis led a citizen-driven process that informed the city’s Master Plan for the Central Delaware. “This is just more car-oriented development.”

Ed Coryell, Sr., one of the region’s most powerful labor leaders, has been removed from his position as head of the Philadelphia carpenter’s union by the international United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Jane Von Bergen reports. “All Philadelphia-area Carpenters union locals have been closed and their assets and members divided among regional councils in Pittsburgh; Edison, N.J.; and Framingham, Mass,” she writes. John Dougherty, business manager of IBEW Local 98, tells John Kopp that Coryell’s feud with the Convention Center which culminated in the union refusing to sign a work agreement “was a serious miscalculation on Ed’s behalf that was detrimental to his members.”

Rev. Mark Tyler, pastor of Mother Bethel AME church, says a consensus has been reached for moving forward with construction on Weccacoe Playground, Cherri Gregg reports. Weccacoe sits atop Bethel Burial Ground—a recently-discovered 19-century African American burial ground that was just added to the National Register of Historic Places. “He says Mayor Jim Kenney and city officials met with all concerned parties Monday and, as a group, the stakeholders agreed the community children deserved a playground. Tyler says the consensus is construction will be allowed on the portion of the playground that does not touch the bones.”

Jason Sherman at Technically says Metropolis Farms, located in a small warehouse in South Philly, is able to grow as much produce as a large outdoor farm. “The innovation here is density, as well as energy and water conservation,” explains Metropolis Farms President Jack Griffin. “We can grow more food in less space using less energy and water. The result is that I can replace 44,000 square feet with 36 square feet.”

Councilman Brian O’Neill and the Rhawnhurst Civic Association are opposing local landlord Kalpesh Mand­lia’s variance request to use a twin house on Bustleton Avenue as a corner grocery store, William Kenney reports. The house was formerly used as a doctor’s home office. 

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