March 20: Council talks tax delinquency | South Star Lofts | Alan Greenberger Q&A | Franklin museum setbacks | #PassyunkProud

Good morning, Streeters. Today is the first official day of spring, and you know what that means: Free water ice from Rita’s. Don’t say we didn’t remind you. Here’s what’s making news on this windy Wednesday:

PlanPhilly’s Patrick Kerkstra and Jared Brey were on hand for City Council’s for the first Taxpayer Fairness Initiative hearings questioning administration officials and representatives from collections agencies about the city’s low-hanging-fruit-strategy for pursuing delinquents, how to ramp up sheriff sales, and inadequate cross-agency coordination. Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez expressed frustration that the focus was too much on collections and not enough on the consequences of delinquency in neighborhoods. “Delinquency and blight decreases the value of everyone. You have revenue collectors making policy decisions around community redevelopment, and therefore everyone loses,” Sánchez said.  City Council will begin another round of hearings about tax delinquency [pdf] at 1pm today.

Today Carl Dranoff’s South Star Lofts will officially break ground at the northeast corner of Broad and South streets. Philly Deals reflects on Dranoff’s penchant for being ahead of the development curve (see: Packard, Left Bank, Locust on the Park), and how Dranoff’s South Broad Street projects have been right on time. Dranoff said his mixed-use, transit-oriented South Star Lofts project isn’t the biggest, but calls it “crucial” given its location.

Generocity has a Q&A with Alan Greenberger covering his involvement in the early days of the Design Advocacy Group, the drawbacks of the Philly attitude when it comes to caring for our city, filling in the gaps, building a more sustainable city, and how to balance change with preservation.

Miss the underground museum at Franklin Court since it’s been closed for a complete overhaul? Blame the sequester for setting the Franklin museum project back even further, reports the Inquirer. At Independence National Historical Park the budget cuts could also shrink hours at Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell during the peak summer tourist season.

Participate in an live chat about all things Passyunk – history, neighborhood change, business mix, community needs – hosted by WHYY’s Elizabeth Fiedler this afternoon from 1-2pm. Participate on Twitter using the hashtag #passyunkproud or enter your questions online.

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