Posted by Jolene Nieves on December 23, 2016 at 10:53 AM
We're about to bid farewell to 2016. It has been an interesting, exciting and challenging year, from the swearing-in of our new mayor to the SEPTA strike. But for the most part, this year has been full of positives for the City of Philadelphia and especially Northeast Philadelphia.
In January, I was sworn-in as City Council’s new Majority Leader and have spent my first year in this post working hard for the 6th District and fighting for the collective agenda of my colleagues. I’ve introduced legislation to streamline and reform procurement practices, to target chronic problem property owners, to remap Frankford Avenue, to protect our brave Fire Fighters from the use of unsafe building materials that catch fire more easily and burn faster, and to call on the General Assembly to amend the Pennsylvania Construction Code to exempt Philadelphia and allow it to adopts its own construction code. I’ve been fortunate to honor local businesses, like Tony’s Place, and local heroes, like Eddie Alvarez. City Council has also been partnering with the Administration as it begins to implement Mayor Kenney’s vision for Philadelphia, including expanded pre-k, Rebuild Philadelphia and community schools.
Last year, the Storefront Improvement Program was hurt by federal regulation changes. I worked with the Commerce Department to have SIP funded through general fund dollars in the FY16 budget. In total, we secured more than $500,000 for SIP in that budget, and the program, which has helped revitalize about 30 storefronts along our commercial corridors in the 6th District, is now a permanent budget line item.
2016 also brought some exciting changes to the neighborhood.
- We’ve invested $5 million for renovations to our recreations centers and the Tacony Library.
- In partnership with the Free Library and Mural Arts Philadelphia, we opened the Tacony Library and Arts Building (Tacony LAB), which serves as a temporary library site while the Tacony Branch undergoes renovations and serves as a community arts space too.
- Just this month (December 2016), we officially re-opened the American Legion Playground and the Lower Mayfair Recreation Center after investing about a half a million dollars in renovations. The 6th District is home to more than 30 parks and recreation centers. Since I took office in 2012, my capital improvement budget has invested more than $7 million on upgrades to these locations. And, we've got many more projects in the pipeline, including a $1 million investment in the Bridesburg Pool and nearly $1 million at the Torresdale Playground.
- My Philly Play program was bigger and better than ever, operating at more than 30 recreation center camp sites and hosting three major play events including the DNC Day of Play Extravaganza – the only kids-friendly event during the DNC – and the Summer Challenge Obstacle Course.
- Our Fall Fest celebration on Torresdale Avenue was a huge success bringing out hundreds of residents to enjoy the great weather and sense of community.
- We offered Summer Hours in the 6th one evening a month to ensure that residents could connect with us when they had the time to do so.
- My staff has been traveling to the local senior groups to help seniors sign up for their free SEPTA pass. In total, more than 150 seniors have gotten their SEPTA passthis year with help from us. If you want to schedule this service, please call our office.
- We worked with the 15th Police District to deploy more trucks to address the large backlog of abandoned vehicles throughout the district.
- We passed legislation that prohibits tractor trailer traffic on the 2800 block of Orthodox Street and the 2800 block of Hedley Street from Richmond Street to Bath Street, with certain exceptions, and established a truck route on Lewis Street between Richmond Street and Delaware Avenue. Our office is currently working with the Streets Department and the 15th police district to ensure enforcement of this legislation.
- Northeast Philadelphia is home to the City’s first buffered bike lanes on Ryan Avenue – this is a huge safety benefit for individuals who bicycle.
- Construction is underway on a new shopping center in Wissinoming at Harbison and Tulip Streets. Plans include a WaWa and a ShopRite among other stores and could bring 300 new jobs to the area.
- We assisted the Historical Society with funding to obtain their Historical Designation for Disston Estates.
These are just a few of the great things we were able to accomplish this year and I am looking forward to doing even more in 2017.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to continue to contact my office for help with community concerns. If you see a downed tree or an abandoned vehicle, if you need help with your property assessment or you see an L&I violation, call my constituent service team at 215-686-3444 or drop by my District Office at 6730 Torresdale Avenue – we are here to help.
From Team Henon to each and everyone of you, I want to wish you the happiest holiday season.