By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council will meet before its regular session on Thursday to take action on bills that would clear the way for a massive facility renovation project known as “Rebuild.” Council has demanded several changes to the bills.

In order to spend half-a-billion dollars in seven years, rehabbing up to 200 parks, rec centers and libraries, the Kenney Administration took the project out of the normal, slow-moving capital program and devised a process for non-profits to oversee renovations, requiring them to meet goals for local, women and minority hiring. Council bristled at the plan and twice has declined to approve it, but Council President Darrell Clarke says they’ve added amendments that bring it in line with council’s goals.

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“We promoted this program to clearly establish opportunities for all Philadelphians,” Clarke said. “We hope that this will move us towards a path of correcting some of the challenges that have existed in this city.”

The Kenney administration sees it that way too. Spokesperson Lauren Hitt says the mayor welcomes the input.

“We now have one of the most robust workforce diversity models the city’s ever really seen,” Hitt said.

Hitt says the mayor hopes the bills will pass so work can get started as soon as legal challenges to the beverage tax, which will finance the work, are settled.

“These facilities are in really bad shape,” she said. “People really need these jobs. We don’t think we can ask them to wait another four months.”

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