FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(PHILADELPHIA) Thursday June 13, 2013—Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a resolution calling for hearings to investigate strategies and offer recommendations for the adaptive reuse of the buildings that will become vacant as a result of the closure of 23 schools for the 2013-2014 academic year. The resolution is co-sponsored by Councilwoman Jannie L. Blackwell, Chair of the City Council Committee on Education. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design revealed that only 25 percent of the closed schools are located in strong real estate markets, with the remaining 75 percent located in transitional or weak markets. As a result, Mayor Nutter has directed Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger to organize an effort, with the School District and appropriate agencies, to develop a plan for the repurposing of shuttered school buildings. “Abandoned buildings can quickly become the scourge of a neighborhood if there is no plan in place to secure new tenants or re-imagine the building,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “Prior proper planning makes the difference; by putting together an action plan now, we have the opportunity for creative, innovative ideas that can transform neighborhoods in a positive manner. Our goal is to harness the creativity and brain power from a host of diverse stakeholders to breathe new life into these buildings, energize surrounding neighborhoods and realize new revenue for the School District of Philadelphia.” Hearings will be held in City Council’s Committee on Education. Councilmembers Reynolds Brown and Blackwell will invite city planning experts, residents and community leaders, District Councilmembers, School District and Mayoral Administrations and developers to offer feedback. Best practices will also be examined from cities with similar challenges including Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Washington D.C. and Cincinnati.
For more information, to request a quote or interview, please contact Jason Lewis, Communications Manager at 215-686-3438.
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