July 19: Walter Smith school deal | Bertoia sculpture moving to Woodmere | Free electric bus ride

Harry Bertoia’s sculpture “Free Interpretation of Plant Forms,” will move to the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill, Jon Hurdle reports. The sculpture was once on display at the Civic Center, and when that was demolished, it was moved to a North Philadelphia police yard for a decade awaiting a new location. “The sculpture’s return to public view follows a $2 million fund-raising campaign by the museum and is the outcome of a long search by its owner, the City of Philadelphia, for a new home.”

In the latest turn in the Walter G. Smith School saga, the Maryland-based Concordia Group has agreed to allocate a portion of the building to public and educational uses, while converting the rest of the space into apartments, reports Jacob Adelman. “The deal, negotiated by leaders of the Point Breeze Community Development Coalition, still must be approved by a larger group of residents, who will vote during a meeting July 28, according to Deborah Cianfrani, a lawyer for the community group.” For more of the backstory on Walter G. Smith and other closed school sales, check out PlanPhilly’s archives.

Take a free ride on SEPTA’s new emissions-free electric bus during the DNC next week. “Constructed from carbon fiber and other lightweight materials, Proterra’s buses have a range of up to 50 miles, and can recharge in under 10 minutes. In Philadelphia, the electric fleet will initially serve Routes 29 and 79,” writes Todd Bookman.

The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission will hold public hearings next month on a plan to raise tolls on some of their bridges, the Morning Call reports. “The E-ZPass and cash tolls on the two-axle vehicles would be $3.25 per axle, or $6.50 total, according to the commission. Cash tolls on the RVs would vary by axle, with the new fee running between $12 and $20, the commission said.”

Marsha Bolnick Bacal, a prominent civic advocate and a founder of the Central Delaware Advocacy Group, has died, the Inquirer reported over the weekend. CDAG board member Joe Schiavo “said Ms. Bacal was involved in many projects to improve the space along the river and make it useful to the community, such as the renovation of the Race Street Pier and the proposed redesign for Penn’s Landing.”

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