(Hancock Rec Center | Photo: Jon Geeting)
Laura McCrystal is out with an update on where things stand with soda tax collections, and what's been spent on Mayor Kenney's signature Pre-K, and Rebuild initiatives.
We've been following the issue of how the Rebuild spending would be divided up across the city, and how City Council politics would impact the project selections, so we were interested to see this reference in the article to the number of projects currently underway.
"The first bond for the Rebuild program, totaling $86.5 million, was issued last fall. Rebuild has spent $4.7 million in bond funds and has started 41 projects at 30 different sites, Gamble said."
Only a few specific projects have gotten any media attention so far, but they're all listed on the Rebuild website with a note about their status. Most are still in the planning and non-profit selection stage, and only 4 are currently labeled as under construction. Fishtown Rec Center, from personal experience, seems to be fully complete although it's not labeled that way.
To help visualize where the different sites are located, we broke down the projects by City Council District and mapped them below.
The 5th, 1st and 3rd Council Districts, represented by Council President Darrell Clarke, Mark Squilla, and Jannie Blackwell, have the most in-progress Rebuild projects, and the 10th District, represented by Brian O'Neill, has the fewest. The rest are somewhere in-between. At this point, there doesn't seem to be much there to suggest members who were against the soda tax are getting shorted, but we'd need a longer timeframe to say for sure.
Active Rebuild Projects by Council District
1st: 9 sites
2nd: 6 sites
3rd: 9 sites
4th: 8 sites
5th: 10 sites
6th: 6 sites
7th: 6 sites
8th: 7 sites
9th: 6 sites
10th: 4 sites
Another analysis we'd be interested in seeing is the correlation between voter turnout and Rebuild site selections. During the Council debates over Rebuild, Council ultimately won the argument over whether the project sites would be selected by District Council members, or through different quality metrics developed by the administration. Council members who wanted more personal power over site selection couched their arguments in terms of equity and familiarity with their districts, though we questioned at the time whether they wouldn't use the opportunity to reward their most loyal voters or most vocal constituents.
It's hard to tell at a glance if there's anything to this theory at this point, but one thing that could clear this up is an analysis of the correlation (of lack thereof) between the wards and divisions where each project was selected, and the overall voter turnout, or votes for the incumbent Council person in those places.
What projects in your area were selected for Rebuild investments? Who uses those spaces? Are there projects you're glad made it on, or other worthy projects that didn't make the cut yet? Share any feedback in the comments, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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