PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s plan to rebuild city facilities inched forward on Monday when the city asked local non-profits to submit proposals for managing the projects.
The Rebuild office hopes to rehab at least 150 parks, rec centers and libraries in seven years, so rather than ratchet up so much capacity for such a short-term project, it plans to turn each job over to a non-profit project “user:” Parks “friends” groups, for instance, or the Free Library Foundation. Deputy Director David Gould expects a lot of interest.
“Organizations interested in this project user role should see it as a tremendous opportunity to be a part of a once-in-a-generation initiative,” Gould said.
The plan has not been without critics. Several council members needed convincing before agreeing to it at the last-minute before the summer recess — and say they’ll be watching closely to make sure the non-profits meet the requirements they set for hiring diversity and community outreach.
Gould says non-profits should be able to show they can manage construction projects and are committed to inclusion.
“We need to make sure we’re working with organizations that share those values and will help us accomplish those goals,” he said.
The city is waiting for the final resolution of a lawsuit challenging the sweetened beverage tax before issuing $400 million in bonds to pay for the program, but Gould says it has some funding for early action projects.
It expects to announce the sites selected for rehab in the fall.