City Council Still Considering Kenney ‘Rebuild’ Program

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — After a marathon hearing, Philadelphia City Council is still considering whether to approve the mayor’s ambitious “rebuild” program for city parks, rec centers, and libraries. The council will take up the bill again on Monday.

The bills lay out a process in which third party non-profit “project users” will take over the facilities through renovations, then return them to the city, so that as many as 200 sites can be fixed up in seven years.

But the program has a larger goal: to create pathways to union jobs for women and minorities.

img 0218 City Council Still Considering Kenney Rebuild Program

(From L-R) Treasurer Rasheia Johnson , Labor Liaison Rich Lazer, and Nicole Westerman. (credit: Pat Loeb)

Director Nicole Westerman told council, the city is working on a memorandum of understanding with unions and contractors to hire local workers for the jobs.

“The idea is to make sure there is a process for recruiting, assessing, and providing paid work opportunities for individuals while they prepare to take the apprentice exam,” she said.

Westerman says the project itself will create several hundred jobs but union membership will create employment for years to come.

Council members such as Cherelle Parker were most interested in how the city could assure compliance.

“I, and so many other people, are skeptical that this is going to happen because it’s never occurred before,” said Parker.

Administration officials promised close monitoring.

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