PlanPhilly looks back: SS United States, Sunoco still seeks refinery buyers, no Promise Neighborhoods grant for Universal, Bill Green on BPT reform

Today, PlanPhilly begins its look back at 2011 with a piece on the SS United States, by Steven Ujifusa. This year the SS United States Conservancy negotiated to take title of the ship, and launched an ambitious restoration project with an eye toward the ship’s reuse.

The Inquirer reports Sunoco is still looking for buyers for its Philadelphia area refineries. The facilities are hard to sell because they require significant alterations to transition them away from refining expensive sweet crude. A Sunoco executive hits “a chemical producer using Marcellus Shale natural gas as a raw material might be interested.”

Kenny Gamble’s Universal Companies didn’t win a major federal grant to create a Promise Neighborhood in Point Breeze and Grays Ferry, despite gaining control of Vare Middle School and Audenried High School from the School District. Promise Neighborhoods, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, are geared at providing “cradle-to-college” educational and social services. The Notebook reports that when Vare and Audenried were turned over to Universal, the School Reform Commission required Universal to provide the promised services even if it did not receive the federal grant.

In this week’s Flying Kite, Councilman Bill Green has a piece about Business Privilege Tax reform, including ditching the net income tax, which puts local businesses at a competitive disadvantage. Green writes, BPT reform “along with redrafting the city’s outdated Zoning Code and reforming the city’s dysfunctional property assessment system, helps send the message that the city is open for business and will encourage, rather than impede, growth.”

The Buzz is Eyes on the Street’s morning news digest.

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