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News Blog

  • 28 Jun 2018 12:28 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

  • 14 Jun 2018 2:15 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    We attended the Market-JFK Vision Zero Safety Project Steering Committee earlier this week. The meeting was convened by Philadelphia’s Office of Transportation and Infrastructure Systems, (OTIS) and included major property owners and stakeholders along the Market and JFK corridors.

    Status of the bike lanes as of today:

    • Striping and flex post installation is substantially complete.
    • PPA’s revision to signage and rearrangement is substantially complete.
    • Bicycle signals have been installed at 16th and Market and 20th and JFK.

    The Philadelphia Police Department 9th District and Philadelphia Parking Authority have begun three education and enforcement actvities as part of the pilot, as requested by the Councilperson.

    • Starting last week, PPD 9th District  began handing out palm cards to both bicyclists and motorists about riding on sidewalks and yielding to pedestrians. This focused enforcement/education period will last for two weeks.

    • Starting 6/22, PPD will ticket those bicyclists riding on sidewalks and motorists who fail to yield to pedestrians. This effort will focus on 16th and JFK, 16th and Market, and 19th and JFK.
    • As the parking and loading signage update is completed, the PPA will begin to enforce parking regulations this week

    If you see a recurring problem, please tweet @philaparking and/or email a message to  Please cc: on any emails so that we may track our residents' concerns.  

    The pilot is expected to last 9 months, and OTIS will be collecting a variety of data in both July and September/October to evaluate the bike lanes on a number of measures.  

    More information from the City’s Office of Transportation & Infrastructure Systems here.

  • 21 May 2018 4:28 PM | Wade Albert

    A few weeks ago, a large number of homeowners throughout the City of Philadelphia received notices from the Office of Property Assessment (OPA) that their properties have been reassessed. In many cases, the reassessed values increased substantially.  Since property taxes are based on OPA's assessment valuations, it follows that many homeowners are likely to see an increase in their property taxes in 2019.

    Because many people in Center City have questions about the reassessment process and want to know how to appeal, CCRA held a public meeting last week at Tenth Presbyterian Church.  A panel consisting of Michael Piper (Chief Assessment Officer for the OPA), Salima Cunningham (Communication Coordinator for the OPA), and attorney Stewart Weintraub fielded questions from a packed audience.  For information about that public meeting, check out this article from reporter Erin Arvedlund.

    Here are some of the takeaways:

    • Property owners who want to challenge their reassessments can file for First Level Review (FLR) with the OPA.  FLR is not an appeal, but rather is an informal process where property owners can provide information to OPA suggesting that their assessments may be incorrect, and if the OPA agrees, it can change the assessment.  Requests for FLR are due no later than May 25, 2018.  If you need a FLR form, either reach out to CCRA or call the OPA at (215) 686-4334.
    • The deadline for taking a formal appeal is in October of 2018.
    • In requesting FLR, property owners are permitted to be represented by attorneys.  However, representation is not necessary.
    • While there are several factors that the OPA will consider in making a decision to change an assessment on FLR, one thing that the OPA unfortunately will not entertain is the property owner's ability or inability to pay his or her taxes.
    • In reviewing an assessment on FLR, OPA will consider the valuation of comparable properties.  However, there is no simple definition of what constitutes a "comparable" property.
    • If you did not receive a reassessment notice in the mail and you are unsure if your property has been reassessed, call the OPA at (215) 686-9272.
  • 26 Apr 2018 3:02 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Penn’s Village helps Central Philadelphia seniors stay in their homes by linking neighbor to neighbor to help with transportation, chores, and medical visits, and provides social and educational programs. To learn more visit or call 215-925-7333.

    Penn’s Village is inviting CCRA members who may not be Penn’s Village members to attend the following programs:

    • Keeping Up with Evolving Technology, a two event program, May 23, 2018, in the MacColl Room of the First Presbyterian Church, 201 South 21st Street. Attendees can select one or both programs.
    • What Voice Command Devices Can Do for You, 2:00 PM, Mario Orpeza will remove the mystery and give practical tips for their use.
    • Tips for Apple Cyber Seniors, 3:30 PM, Yoav Zohar will help owners of Apple products (iMac, iPad and/or iPhone) get the most from their devices.

    This program is free for Penn’s Village members and volunteers. A $5 donation from other guests would be appreciated.

    • ·         Putting Your Values on Paper, 2:00 PM, Stevens Community Center of the Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, 2110 Sansom Street.
    •       Hello, Tuesday, May 22, 2018. Janet Burnham will lead this conversation game that is a fun way to begin a meaningful conversation about living, dying and what matters most. The cost of the Hello Game is $5 for Penn’s Village members and volunteers (to cover the cost of game materials); $10 for other guests, payable at the event.
    •       Ethical Will, Tuesday, May 29, 2018. Marianne Waller, a personal historian, will lead a workshop providing practical guidance in developing what is often called an ethical or spiritual will. This workshop is free for Penn’s Village members and volunteers. A $5 donation from other guests would be appreciated.

    Guests are welcome to attend three Penn’s Village programs before becoming a member and/or volunteer. For all of the above Penn’s Village programs, please register by emailing or calling 215-925 7333.

  • 19 Apr 2018 1:36 PM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    Penn’s Village Programs Open to Non-Members

    Penn’s Village helps Central Philadelphia seniors stay in their homes by linking neighbor to neighbor to help with transportation, chores, and medical visits, and provides social and educational programs. To learn more visit or call 214-925-7333.

    Penn’s Village is inviting CCRA members who may not be Penn’s Village members to attend the following programs:

    • What Children’s TV Tells Us about Ourselves with Jo Holz, 2:00 PM, Wednesday, May 9, The Athenaeum, 219 South 6th Street. The handicapped entrance is at the rear of the building. Please note for this program there is no charge for Penn’s Village members and volunteers, but a $5 donation is requested for other guests.
    • Tea, Scones & Work with Your Phones V, 4:00 - 6:00 PM, Friday, April 27, Community Room, Society Hill Towers, 261St. James Place.
    • The Declaration, the Constitution and American Identity: A Contrarian View with Kermit Roosevelt, 6:30 -7:30 PM, Wednesday, April 25, in the lower level meeting room, Philadelphia City Institute Library, 1905 Locust Street. There is no elevator to the lower level.
    • Philadelphia Mansions with Author Thom Nickels, 6:30 - 7:30 PM, Monday, April 30, in the lower level meeting room, Philadelphia City Institute Library, 1905 Locust Street. There is no elevator to the lower level.

    For all of the above Penn’s Village programs, please register by emailing or calling 215 925 7333.

  • 11 Apr 2018 5:53 PM | Wade Albert

    Pennsylvania’s primary election will be held on Tuesday, May 15th, and only registered voters are entitled to vote. 

    The deadline to register to vote in the primary is April 16th. In Pennsylvania, you can register in person, by mail, and at various government agencies. Information on how to register is at 

    Primary elections are important because the winners will be the candidates in the general election November 6th.

    Parents of college students please remind them that they can register to vote where they attend college, or they can vote in Philadelphia by absentee ballot. Therefore, it is important to register to vote at the location at which they want to vote – at their college location or at their home address.

  • 05 Apr 2018 2:15 PM | Wade Albert

    CCRA is working with the Philadelphia Streets Department to try to resolve problematic Big Belly garbage cans in our neighborhood that frequently are overfilled to capacity.  In the meantime, we ask that you do not add to the problem by putting household or other trash outside of or around an overly full Big Belly! 

    This is not only a quality of life issue, but it is also a public health and wellness issue. 

    If you see someone adding to the pile, please ask them to stop and think about it and take their garbage home or to another trash can.  You can also use 311 to report issues of concern that are not a crime in progress.

    If you are aware of a Big Belly trash can near you that continues to be overfilled, please reach out to CCRA at to let us know.

  • 26 Feb 2018 11:27 AM | Travis Oliver (Administrator)

    CCRA’s Streets Committee is planning a general meeting with representatives of the City of Philadelphia Streets Department’s about initiatives that effect our neighborhood. One of the subject’s to be discussed will be the Big Belly program which has been greatly expanded. An abbreviated description of the program is the following:

    • In Center City there were 700 wire baskets in July 2009 that were replaced with approximately 400 BigBelly units.
    • As a result of a new 10-year contract the City signed with BigBelly and Green Cities there will be 275 new units with foot pedals and recyclers provided by Green Cities and 125 reconditioned units provided by the City. There will be an advertising contract which also includes cleaning and extended warranty services.
    • The Sanitation Division of the Streets Department collects the contents of the units approximately three to four times a week. A communications system notifies the Sanitation Division when a unit is full or has mechanical problems.
    • The Streets Department has a limited number of additional units available to place in Center City but will consider CCRA’s recommendations for more units.

    The BigBelly program and other Streets Department programs will be discussed in greater detail at the public meeting which be announced in future weekly e-newsletters and emails.

  • 15 Feb 2018 10:54 AM | Wade Albert

    A big Valentine’s Day heart to all those who volunteered or donated funds for a Valentine’s Day Party for 40 male residents of our neighborhood who are experiencing homelessness.  We had over 20 volunteers and raised more than sufficient funds to serve a fabulous meal (plus lots of treats and left-overs for the guys) to everyone.  Volunteers and residents shared good conversation and sat down for a meal together.  Thanks to board member Donna Cordner and her team of volunteers, our local St. Marks Church, where the men sleep at night, was decorated with holiday cheer and the men were each given a Valentines “goody bag” thoughtfully created by our volunteers.  We saw big smiles on some struggling faces. 

    After enjoying Primo’s hoagies, lots of fixings, and desserts galore, the men and volunteers continued the fun with an Eagles themed game of “Topple the Tower”, which reminded everyone of who we toppled last Sunday!  It was a
    huge ice breaker – a game of Eagles Jenga on every table. The room vibrated with groans and cheers as pieces were successfully removed, or the tower toppled.  The games were left for the guys to play again, as they enjoyed them so much (and we did, too!).

    This event is part of a commitment of CCRA to make our neighborhood a better place to live, work and play, for ALL its residents.  We will continue to work with the Bethesda Project to find community-based solutions to reduce homelessness as well as lessen its impact on our neighborhood.  If you are interested in joining this initiative in some way (donating clothes, food, time, etc.), please contact board member Barbara Halpern at

  • 08 Dec 2017 2:37 PM | Wade Albert

    Today CCRA sent the following letter to Councilman Kenyatta Johnson supporting his bill that seeks to expand the City's LOOP Program:

    Dear Councilperson Johnson:

    On behalf of the Center City Residents’ Association (CCRA), I write in support of Bill No. 170901 (“the Bill”), which is the latest in a series of amendments expanding the breath and scope of the Tax Exemptions for Longtime Owner-Occupants of Residential Properties Program (otherwise known as “the LOOP Program”).

    Realizing that many longtime homeowners of limited economic means – especially seniors on fixed incomes – could be adversely impacted by the City’s Actual Value Initiative (AVI), CCRA has for years been a strong proponent of the LOOP Program, which provides a limited property tax exemption to eligible owner-occupiers on that portion the assessed valuation of their properties which is in excess of three (3) times the previous year’s valuation.  For example, last year we supported Bill No. 160012, which removed a 10-year cap on the duration of the tax exemption under the LOOP Program for qualifying middle and low income residents.

    It is our understanding that the Bill seeks to further expand the LOOP Program by removing a provision from the law that currently renders homeowners ineligible from participation if their total household income is greater than or equal to 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI), as established by HUD.  As a result, if the Bill is passed, long-term owner-occupiers of real estate in the City will be able to take advantage of the LOOP Program for an indefinite period of time so long as their total household income is less than or equal to 150% of AMI, until their properties are sold, transferred, or are no longer their principal residences.

    CCRA supports the Bill for two important reasons.  First, the Bill furthers the goal of the LOOP Program to help long-term homeowners in Philadelphia on fixed incomes who experience large increases in the assessed value of their properties from one year to the next.  As a result, it will help those residents who may not be in a position to shoulder the economic consequences of gentrification. 

    Second, the economic impact of the LOOP Program on the City’s finances is relatively small given that existing legislation already provides an annual cap of $20 million, and further provides that if the cap were to be reached in any year, then the respective exemptions would be allocated among all eligible taxpayers on a pro rata basis so that the total taxes exempted under the LOOP Program would never exceed $20 million in that year.

    We do recognize that there are some potential areas of abuse.  For example, there is the possibility that the City may inadvertently allow some taxpayers with household incomes that somewhat exceed 150% of the AMI to participate in the LOOP Program.  In addition, we realize that certain high-income taxpayers who benefit from an informal, unrecorded property transfer may slip through the cracks and improperly be permitted to participate.

    However, on balance, CCRA believes that the benefits of the Bill outweigh those potential areas of abuse.  We therefore look forward to City Council acting on this legislation.


    Wade D. Albert



    Read the original letter here.

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