Encouraging conversations have emerged from the January 20 letter presented by a startup community group, the Center City Coalition (CCC) seeking City Hall’s attention to quality of life/street issues. The CCC arose from the initiatives mounted by President Maggie Mund in the summer of 2019. Currently, the group’s efforts are facilitated by two former CCRA presidents, Matt Fontana and Steve Huntington working with Jane Green who resides in Two Liberty Place.
The first respondents to the January 20, CCC letter were At Large Councilpersons Alan Domb and Derek Green and District Councilperson Mark Squilla (who represents the Center City neighborhoods east of Broad) which led to three productive Zooms in the first three days of February. Within the next few days, CCC representatives Zoomed with staffers from the offices of the two CCCRAland Councilpeople, Kenyatta Johnson, and Council President Darrell Clarke and, as a result, arrangements are being made for CCC representatives to meet with the Council President. Further meetings with other Councilpeople are in the works.
On February 9, the Mayor’s office assembled a wide array of City representatives to Zoom with CCC delegates. Attending were emissaries from the Mayor’s Office, Managing Director’s Office, The Police, Homeless Services, Health, Transportation & Infrastructure (OTIS), Commerce, Community Life Improvement (CLIP) and the Center City District. The City representatives discussed ongoing initiatives. The CCC delegates reported concerns of CCC members as to a perceived atmosphere of fear, lack of safety and worries as to about the City “coming back” post-pandemic. The CCC delegates acknowledged that the City has put in place long term programs that promise, over time, to produce improvements while requesting more attention devoted to here and now concerns so as to foster a sense of positive movement. The CCC presentation focused on three general categories of concerns(1) Violence and lack of safety on our streets;(2) panhandling, especially aggressive activity, and sidewalk obstruction by street populations; and (3) quality of life issues including cleanliness and trash. The meeting was collegial with the major takeaway a resolution to meet further in the hopes of formulating action plans.