Fixing Philly’s flood-prone sewers and pipes will cost home and business owners

Are your feet still drying out from a morning trudge through curbside pools of rainwater? Well, Philadelphia Water Department has a plan to stop street flooding and improve the city’s water infrastructure but it depends on you. Or more accurately, your wallet. The agency has proposed an 11 percent rate increase over the next three years in an attempt to cover increasing operating costs, compliance with stricter environmental regulations, and to accelerate the rate of replacing sewers and water mains, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Andrew Maykuth reports. This would increase the monthly bill of a typical customer using 500 cubic feet (3,740 gallons) by roughly $7.29 a month, Maykuth writes.

Philly’s increasing water rates are on par with the industry standard, according to the American Water Works Association. Furthermore, PWD explains, the price of installing green infrastructure as part of the city’s ambitious “Green City, Clean Waters” program to reduce stormwater overflows will cost about $4.5 billion over 25 years, Water Commissioner Debra A. McCarty said. PWD initially projected costs at $2.4 billion in 2011, and the city has adjusted its plan to keep maintenance costs down by using fewer outside contractors and doing more work with city employees, McCarty tells Maykuth.

The Philadelphia Water, Sewer, and Storm Water Rate Board, an independent body established by City Council in 2012 to set water rates, will hold the first of seven hearings on Monday for public testimonies on the department’s proposal. The hearings are coming at a time when homeowners and businesses are already experiencing sticker shock over Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed tax hike, spiking property assessments and a proposed 1 percent tax increase on new construction. 

A fine-dining approach to soul food lands in West Philly

The Philly-born soul food restaurant Tasties will open a new and decidedly upscale location on Friday, April 20, replacing a pizza shop at 1212 N. 52nd Street in West Philadelphia. Tasties’ chef-owner Barbara Devan’s mission: to keep her food accessible to the neighborhood while creating a fine-dining experience in an “underserved community,” the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Kenneth Hilario reports. Devan, 36, started Tasties in North Philadelphia in 2007 and opened the first storefront in West Philly in 2013. Devan, a Southwest Philly native who learned to cook from her grandmother and mother, told Daily News’ Michael Hinkelman that the black woman-owned business grew and contracted over the years. She went mobile in 2014 and opened two casual eateries with a focus on takeout at 5241 Germantown Avenue and at 1214 N. 52nd Street, right next to the expanded new restaurant. What’s different about the new Tasties is the upscale sit-down menu and full bar. Look out for plush velour and gold trim seats, weekend brunch, and staples including wings, turkey chops, ribs, and sautéed crabs, delectable sides including collard greens and baked mac and cheese, and 7Up Cake!

The new two-level Tasties at 1212 N. 52nd Street includes sit-down fine dining and a full bar. Credit: Tasties.
The new two-level Tasties at 1212 N. 52nd Street includes sit-down fine dining and a full bar. Credit: Tasties.  (Tasties)

Devan chose her location intentionally: “West Philadelphians no longer have to travel to Center City or South Philly for fine dining in a beautiful atmosphere,”  Eater Philly reports.  “I’m bringing a luxurious, upscale dining experience to an underserved community.” She had noted in 2014 that mainly African-Americans patronized the West Philly location and she wanted to keep the business accessible and contribute to the local economy. “The future is bright for West Philadelphia businesses and the community at large,” Devan tells Hilario. “I’m fortunate to have the Tasties brand at the forefront of this revitalization” The new two-level Tasties opens Friday, April 20, at 1212 N. 52nd Street.

PSA: Street paving in Southwest Philly  

Night work will commence for milling and roadway resurfacing activities in Southwest Philadelphia beginning Monday, April 16 at 7 p.m., the Streets Depart announced Friday. Expect temporary parking restrictions.  The work is expected to be completed by Friday, May 11. Work will be performed on Buist Avenue from 76th Street to Lindbergh Boulevard; Lindbergh Boulevard from 65th Street to 84th Street; and Mario Lanza Boulevard from 86th Street to Lindbergh Boulevard.

Street resurfacing will be completed in four separate phases – street milling, the adjustment of manhole covers & utility boxes, final resurfacing, and line striping work. Milling will be performed between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., and the duration is expected to be five nights.  Manhole and utility box adjustments will be scheduled during the day, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Final paving will occur between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., and the duration is expected to be five nights. Line striping work will be scheduled between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Temporary ‘No Parking’ signs will be posted in advance of each scheduled activity.

The work is being completed by James J. Anderson Construction Company, Inc. and financed with 100% City Capital Budget Funds, the Streets Department says.

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