September 27: Billions in economic impact | “Embarrassed and frustrated” | Kenney on monuments

Licenses and Inspections issued a 10-day stop-work order within hours of Fishtown residents’ complaints that developers started demolishing a former lead smelter without prior notification, the Daily News’ Barbara Laker and Wendy Ruderman report. Developer Gaul Street Partners and real estate broker Ori Feibush plan to build eight single-family homes priced about $560,000 each; a Fishtown resident says he’s not opposed to the development but wants a proper environmental assessment and any appropriate remediation. Gaul Street Partners’ VP “went door to door to apologize” and Feibush says he is “embarrassed and frustrated that [Fishtown neighbors] didn’t have proper notice of the demolition.”

Parties for and against the soda tax have spent more than $5.4 million this year on ads, according to filings under the city lobbying disclosure law. WHYY’s Dave Davies breaks down the Axe-tion and reaction ad spending on both sides.

When organizations respond to the city’s “antiquated work rules”: the National Black MBA Association, one of the many groups that pulled out of Philadelphia due to these work rules, brings its annual conference back to Philly, the Philadelphia Business Journal’s Kenneth Hilario reports. This return is a response to the city’s “new, customer-friendly work rules” enacted in 2014 that updated the hospitality industry’s infrastructure to accommodate large conferences. A single conference such as this is expected to generate about $10.3 million in economic impact in Philadelphia, according to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Lightfair International, the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting show, had cancelled its meetings for 2015, 2016, and 2017 due to the previous work rules.

Speaking of economically impactful industries, the arts and culture sector contributed $4.1 billion to the regional economy last year, according to a report by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance. WHYY’s Peter Crimmins reports that the alliance collected data from 492 of the roughly 1,500 and 2,000 arts and culture organizations in the city to calculate the direct and indirect spending, along with city tax revenue, attributable to the sector. Nationally, Philadelphia ranks second to Washington in arts and culture jobs.

Mayor Kenney encourages Philadelphians to go beyond “whether or not someone was ‘good enough’ for a monument” and consider “whether or not a monument is right for the current city of Philadelphia.” In an op-ed for Next City, the mayor highlights two of Monument Lab’s temporary installations prominently placed outside City Hall, and ties them, along with the project’s 18 other temporary works, with the current debate over the controversial Rizzo statue.

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