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Controversy Over ‘Improvement District’ For Temple University Area

(North Philadelphia residents wait to testify at a City Council hearing on a Neighborhood Improvement District for their area.  Credit: Mike Dunn)

(North Philadelphia residents wait to testify at a City Council hearing on a Neighborhood Improvement District for their area. Credit: Mike Dunn)

Mike Dunn Mike Dunn
Mike Dunn is City Hall bureau chief for KYW Newsradio 1060. He covers...
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By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The North Philadelphia community surrounding Temple University is divided over a plan to tax landlords for more street cleanup and security, and the dispute came to a head today at a City Council hearing

City Council president Darrell Clarke, whose district includes the area around Temple, wants to create what’s called a Neighborhood Improvement District (“NID”) to deal with problems caused by students.

“Parties all night, every night,” Clarke told the hearing.  “Trash being put out every day of the week.  Landlords who did not respect the neighborhood.”

The plan, though, upsets some longtime community members, including Delores Johnson, who faults the university.

“Shame on Temple University for hiding behind developers who do not reside in North Philadelphia, and who are only here to suck dollars out of our community!” she said.

“This is not about trash, it’s not about cleaning and greening — it’s about taking control of our community,” said Vivian Van Story, another longtime resident.

To fund the NID, landlords would pay a seven-percent surcharge on their property assessment.

Nicholas Pizzola, of Turn Point Real Estate, support the NID concept.

“What is needed is an organization that will provide additional funding and management to deal with the specific issues of student behavior, trash, and parking,” he said.

A Temple official told Council that the university supports the NID as a way to deal with what she called “a significant growth in the number of students living off campus.”

The committee will hold another hearing on the proposal, most likely in May, before any vote.

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