Tax breaks as property values ​​rise? Tourism returns; SEPTA starts cleanup campaign | sunday roundup

• Philadelphia real estate values ​​and rents have risen

With the first real estate reassessment since pre-pandemic, Philadelphia found a 21% increase overall and 31% in residential properties. Mayor Kenney is proposing several changes, including a cut in the much-discussed payroll tax, to counter the upcoming dazzling property tax bills. Rents have also risen in Philly, but the 6% increase since 2020 is half that of the surrounding suburbs. [ Penn]

• Fight against abortion rights comes to the fore

Pennsylvania is not a state with a “trigger ban” and could see an influx of travelers seeking abortion care if the leaked Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade stands. But a new Dad. Legislature and governor after November’s election could act quickly to restrict access. There were meetings in Philadelphia last week, including one with elected officials at all levels. A move to enshrine reproductive rights in federal law could hinge on Pa Senator Bob Casey. — a Democrat who has long been anti-abortion. [WHYY/WESA/Billy Penn/BP]

• Tourism is starting to bounce back

Just over 36 million people visited the Greater Philadelphia area last year, up 21% year-on-year but far from the record 46 million in 2019. The boost is clear in Center City, where 4 in 5 storefronts are occupied. and pedestrian traffic is at 86% of the pre-COVID level. Industry experts say a more complete inner-city recovery depends on workers returning to the office. [Tribune/Visit Philly/KYW/WHYY]

• First Friday celebrates 30 years in Old City

In the early 1990s, artists began swarming over the old town, turning empty warehouses into lively studios and galleries. A short documentary examines how the neighborhood launched First Friday to let people discover multiple show openings and performances in one night, and the trend took off. It was a transformative experience for a young man from Northeast Philly, whose essay about it was published in 1994 in The Inquirer magazine. [Old City Dist/Billy Penn]

Corinthian Gardens next to Eastern State Penitentiary
Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital

• Primary Procrastinator’s Guide

Election Day is May 17, just over a week away. If you’re hoping to fill out your ballot this weekend or just want to challenge the candidates, our Spring Procrastinator Guide—your Philadelphia primaries cheat sheet—will be posted to this link early Sunday afternoon. The League of Women Voters has video interviews with several candidates. [Billy Penn/LWV]

• Parking enforcement starts for street sweeping

Enforcement of street sweeping parking bans begins Monday in the 14 Philly neighborhoods with the pilot. There is a SweepPHL tool with a card which is updated via GPS trackers, so that you can see when the mechanical brooms are finished. Two other tech solutions to reduce litter – the Glitter app and the use of machine learning through city cameras – were essentially dropped by the Kenney admin. [Billy Penn/@billy_penn/]

• SEPTA deploys new security personnel, starts clean-up blitz

Efforts to bring riders back to SEPTA and keep them safe are ramping up this week. Dozens of contracted outreach services workers now ride the system, not intended to replace the police, but to provide additional eyes and ears. The authority is also launching its summer cleanup, which means that certain stations must be closed for hours at a time for hoses down and repairs. [6ABC/SEPTA]

• Student artists get showcase at PAFA

The annual art exhibition for students at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the longest-standing student exhibition of its kind, opens this week. It happens in the school’s Center City museum and is very curated. Two years ago, students boycotted the show because of PAFA’s Black Lives Matter stance, leading to a massive leadership shift at the institution. [PAFA/Billy Penn/WHYY]

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