Gunfire on Benjamin Franklin Parkway Injures Two Police Officers, Brings City’s Independence Day Celebrations to an Unsettling Close
On Monday evening, two police officers were shot near the Philadelphia Museum of Art as the annual Wawa Welcome America Party on the Parkway — the first since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic — drew to a close. Both officers were treated at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and have since been released. The search for the shooter is ongoing, and any motive remains unknown.
SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel Abruptly Retires
Amid an increase in violent crime on public transit — as well as an accompanying increase in public scrutiny of the city’s transit police — SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel retired on Tuesday, effective immediately. Police Inspector Charles Lawson has been named acting chief, and the agency’s search for the next permanent chief begins now. The SEPTA police union announced a near unanimous vote of no confidence in Nestel in March 2021.
Turn the Key Program Aims to Build Energy-Efficient, Affordable Housing
Turn the Key, Philadelphia’s newest affordable housing program, is set to begin construction on new energy-efficient homes for up to 1,000 families of municipal workers or otherwise income-eligible Philadelphians. The goal is to not only make the dream of homeownership a reality for first-time buyers, but also to improve neighborhood infrastructure and address the issue of blight. Qualifying applicants earn $105,400 or less — or the area median income. The first set of homes will be built on publicly owned land.
Construction on Long-Dormant Franklin Square PATCO Station to Ramp Up Soon
Construction crews have been hard at work on relocating a near century-old water line to make way for a new escalator for the PATCO station at 7th and Race Streets, which has been shuttered for more than 40 years. Beginning in August, when the water line work is expected to be completed, work will ramp up on much needed mechanical, electrical, and structural improvements. The station is expected to resume function in spring of 2024, and is anticipated to increase public transit access to Old City.
City Council Sets Sights on Saving the City’s Tree Canopy
In June, City Council approved a bill that would charge developers for the removal of trees by the square inch. While developers are already beholden to requirements that are intended to preserve Philadelphia’s shrinking canopy, especially in residential neighborhoods, this bill goes further by removing certain existing exemptions and expanding requirements for vegetated buffers between zoning districts.
Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies Welcomes Sam Denisco
Sam Denisco, vice president of government affairs at the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, has joined our government relations practice. See more on Cozen O’Connor Public Strategies’ website.