May 4: Point Breeze arson claims | PA water systems violate EPA standards | Ralston Center at 200

The Point Breeze developer for an upscale townhome project that was subject to arson early Monday morning claims that the perpetrators “are upwardly mobile white folks who grew up outside of the city…that came from good homes who believe that their way to promote their political persuasion is to stomp their feet and break things,” NewsWorks’ Bobby Allyn reports. Point Breeze residents and neighborhood critics spoke out against the project at public hearings, arguing that the development is a ‘glaring example’ of developments that price out working-class black residents, but were not able to stop it.

Some Pennsylvania drinking water systems have levels of contaminants that violate federal health standards, according to a new national report conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report, which uses public data from the EPA, ranks Pennsylvania as third in the country with the most offenses based on population, and says that the violations reflect lax federal regulation and poor investment in water infrastructure. StateImpact PA’s Jon Hurdle covers the NRDC’s argument and responses from Philadelphia Water Department and Aqua America, one of the companies that operates systems that serve four suburban Philadelphia counties.

Do the tax incentives states offer to attract businesses actually create jobs? NewsWorks’ Dave Davies reports that a new Pew study “found a lot of states just don’t know, because they don’t rigorously evaluate their incentive programs.”

The Ralston Center at 3615 Chestnut Street, one of Philadelphia’s earliest institutions devoted exclusively to geriatric services, is celebrating 200 years. Formerly known as the Indigent Widows and Single Women’s Society, the Center was designed by architectural firm Wilson Brothers & Company, best known for the train shed at Reading Terminal Market. Hidden City traces how the residential facilities and services have adapted over the years to keep current with the changing needs of the independent senior living and elder care.

The Rail Park is among 10 projects across the country selected for the Cities Project, a crowd-sourced fundraising initiative from Heineken, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Indiegogo. The initiative aims to “showcase places that matter” and kickstart the restoration of historically significant projects in metropolitan areas including the prism glass sidewalks in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, Houston’s Astrodome, and LA’s Triforium, a public light and sound sculpture. The Rail Park has a $15,000 fundraising goal, and to sweeten the deal, folks that donate $150 or more get a free ticket to see Bruno Mars.

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