Saturday, August 29, 2015

City Council proposal would use ad $ for schools

Updated: To include additional information

City Council proposal would use ad $ for schools

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Updated: To include additional information

City Council’s not waiting until budget time to find ways to raise money for schools.

Councilman Mark Squilla introduced a bill today that would allow for a large digital billboard on the Electric Factory at 7th and Callowhill streets and a portion of the money generated would go toward educational programming at three local schools.

“It’s a neat initiative and a neat way we could have the private sector help us,” Squilla said, adding that members of the Center City Improvement Coalition (CCIC) approached him about the idea.

Twenty percent of the revenues from the billboard would go toward the creation of the Center City North Improvement Fund as part of a community benefits agreement negotiated by spokesman Jeff Hornstein.

Hornstein said he expects the billboard will generate $2.5 million annually. The fund would have roughly $500,000 a year to dole out. Under the agreement 75 percent of the fund’s annual revenues would be divided evenly between Home & School Associations at Spring Garden, Kearny and McCall elementary schools. The remaining 25 percent would be split among civic associations.

The money would help fund programs like the recently cut Chinese language and culture program at the McCall Elementary School.

The Nutter administration said it has to review the bill and could not provide comment.

Is this Déjà vu? Squilla’s predecessor former Councilman Frank DiCicco tried to push a wall-wrap bill on the same building, but on 7th and Willow streets last year. That bill was vetoed by Nutter and the administration said the bill would violate federal laws because it would have been within 600 feet of the Vine Expressway.

Squilla’s plan will likely face opposition from Scenic Philadelphia, formerly known as SCRUB an anti-blight organization that opposes outdoor advertising.

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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