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March 28: Treetop in the Wissahickon | hardball over Sturgis Rec | Barnes conservation | casino feedback | Glaxo’s old HQ becoming arts charter | Healthy food access improving | Civic Flag Day

Good morning, Streeters. Here’s what’s making news today:

Will the Wissahickon get an adventure course with zip lines and platforms high in the canopy? The Daily News reports that Parks and Recreation is proposing a five-acre treetop course in the 1,800-acre park, but Roxborough neighbors don’t necessarily like the idea, citing concerns about burdening the park with more man-made interventions, damaging habitat, ensuring access while managing parking and security. The city has no timeline for this project.

Did the Nutter administration hold up improvements to Sturgis Rec Center in East Oak Lane for nine months as political payback? The Inquirer reports that Councilwoman Marian Tasco believes the administration delayed the project because of her opposition to the way Nutter was approaching the possible sale of Philadelphia Gas Works.

Now that the Barnes has moved to the Parkway, there’s actually room to properly conserve some of the collection’s extraordinary art and objects. The New York Times checks in on the Barnes’ new conservation lab where a lidded box dating from 750 BC is currently being put back together. (It broke during handling in the 1950s, which led to an entire glass case of objects from Room 17 being taken off of view.) “In the new museum, a large, windowed conservation lab has become the locus of the first comprehensive efforts by the Barnes to take a hard look at its 2,500-object collection and assess what needs cleaning, stabilizing, conserving or even full-fledged restoration.”

The City Planning Commission is soliciting public feedback on casino proposals during a listening tour this week. PlanPhilly’s Kellie Patrick Gates went to the session at Lincoln Financial Field and shares a selection of comments for each proposed casino. Kellie also reports that eventually “the city will advocate for one or more casinos that it determines would be the best fit for the city,” according to Deputy Mayor and Planning Commission chair Alan Greenberger. He also said that the city is trying to work with all six casino applicants to improve their proposals because no one knows which the gaming control board will pick. There is another feedback session tonight at the Painted Bride Art Center (230 Vine St) from 6:30-8pm.

The former GlaxoSmithKline headquarters will now be home to the String Theory High School for the Arts and Sciences, a charter high school emphasizing the performing arts, science and technology. The Inquirer reports that the new school set to open this fall is an expansion of the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter on South Broad. The building will require $10 million -$12 million in upgrades to build a theater, studio spaces (art, TV, motion-capture), science labs, and an automotive engineering lab.

Healthy food access improved for low-income Philadelphians by 17% between 2010-2012, according to a new study released yesterday by the city’s Health Department. The Daily News reports the improvement is in part due to increased participation in the Healthy Corner Store initiative, a joint venture between the Food Trust and Health Department that incentivizes corner stores in high-poverty areas to stock healthy and fresh food.

Did you know that yesterday was the city’s flag day? On March 27, 1895 City Council approved the flag and on the same day in 2005 Council established Philadelphia Civic Flag Day. 

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