In case you missed it: This week’s good reads about Pennsylvania cities

    Election Day is over. The results are in for recommended urban reading.

    Mayoral races and cases

    With a population of almost 46,000, you might think that Altoona had a full time mayor. Wrong. For 25 years, Altoona’s mayor has been part-time. With home rule, the city changed this restriction and on Tuesday, incumbent Matt Pacifico was reelected, this time as full-time mayor(Altoona Mirror)

    Incumbent Bradford Mayor Tom Riel defeated a challenge by write-in candidate Tom Berg. (The Bradford Era)

    State representative Thaddeus Kirkland won Chester’s mayoral election. (Delaware County Daily Times)

     Wally Scott is Reading’s new mayor. In a year of FBI probes and indictments, Scott’s campaign focused on returning city government to its citizens. (The Reading Eagle)

    Philadelphians were not surprised that Jim Kenney will be their next mayor. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

    Harrisburg’s former mayor Stephen Reed will get a new judge for his trial. Because Reed was mayor of Harrisburg for nearly 30 years, a judge from nearby Cumberland county will hear the case. (WITF)

    Chaka “Chip” Fattah, Jr. was found guilty on Thursday of bank and tax fraud charges. (Newsworks)

    In a push to bring the financially-distressed borough under state control, Colywn’s mayor and two councilmen have resigned. (Newsworks)

    Education

    In the latest chapter of the budget impasse, strained finances has forced the Scranton Board of School Directors to request a $14.3 million loan to keep schools open. Statewide borrowing is reaching the dubious half-billion dollar milestone. (WITF)

    With the election of three Democrats, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court experienced a shift in power that could influence the impact of several high profile education cases facing the court. Upcoming cases include whether Philadelphia’s School Reform Commission (SRC) can impose enrollment caps on charter schools. (Newsworks)

    Both Illinois and Pennsylvania are entering their fifth month without a budget. Wall Street is more worried about the Commonwealth, because while Illinois passed a school funding bill, Pennsylvania gridlocked on a stop-gap measure. (WITF)

    Changing communities

    Paris has been experimenting with car-less weekends and lowering speed limits, and now, a design competition. Reinvent Paris allows competitors to submit design plans for redesigning 23 sites in the city, some in disuse, but all a canvas for innovation. Scranton has enacted a “quality of life” ordinance to cite absentee landlords and neglectful property owners. Since March, this new policy has increased citations and foreclosures. (The Times-Tribune)

    “If these walls could talk,” is an often used phrase, but appropriate in describing the Norris Apartments, built in 1952. Slated to be razed, a local artist is using a mural and oral histories to tell the story of this North Philadelphia community. (Newsworks)

    Economic Development Incentives

    This week, a Lancaster lawmaker asked to check the math on a program that allows cities to keep some state taxes to fund redevelopment projects. The results of these economic development incentives, known as CRIZ, were found to be “underwhelming.” 

    Allentown is using the U.S. immigration investor program (also known as EB-5) to encourage foreign investment in the $225 million City Center Plan. In return for investing in this project, foreign investors can secure green cards for themselves and family members. SEPTA and Comcast have used this incentive and it is criticized by some for fast-tracking wealthy foreigners to the front of the immigration line. (The Morning Call)Bridges

    The Schuylkill River Swing Bridge project has a TIGER (Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery) in its tank, additional funding will drive construction as soon as summer 2016. Like the newly opened Manayunk Bridge, the project would create a space for pedestrians and bicycles. (PlanPhilly)

    The “Bermuda Triangle” of three deteriorating Pittsburgh area bridges will soon be closed for reconstruction. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    Pennsylvania has many structurally deficient bridges. Visit our bridge series for explainers and ideas for tracking and repairing these structures.Exercise your right to have a great weekend.

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