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Ban On Feeding Homeless Along Ben Franklin Parkway Delayed

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(File photo: a group of people being given free meals at a parkland location in Philadelphia.  Credit: John McDevitt)

(File photo: a group of people being given free meals at a parkland location in Philadelphia. Credit: John McDevitt)

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) — Two months after Mayor Michael Nutter announced a ban on public feeding of the homeless on the Ben Franklin Parkway, the new policy has yet to take effect. And it won’t be in effect when the Barnes Museum opens on the Parkway later this month.

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Mayor Nutter insists that his plan to ban feeding on the Parkway is not related to the opening of the museum, but advocates for the homeless openly scoff at that claim.

And even though Nutter announced the ban in March, his spokesman Mark McDonald says bureaucracy has intervened.

“Deputy Mayor Mike DiBerardinis is in the process of finalizing the language for the regulation,” said McDonald. “It will then go to the Law Department. From there it is conformed and sent to the Records Department, where it sits for 10 days for public comment.”

McDonald says this means the ban won’t take effect until next month.

“It looks like its going to be around June 1 before it goes into force,” he said. “So before then, there is no regulation about not serving food on the Parkway.”

The Barnes Museum, meantime, holds its dedication this Friday, and opens formally next week.

The mayor is allowing groups to stage outdoor feedings on the apron of City Hall, and in fact the past two weekends several such feedings have taken place.

Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, a leading opponent of the mayor’s proposed ban, is hoping that a new task force can work out a compromise plan on outdoor feedings. If not, she plans to hold public hearings in Council on the dispute.

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