After months of preparation, we’re excited to announce some big -- and exciting -- developments on behalf of the Next Great City Coalition!
Last year, we hosted participatory, town hall-style meetings wherein member organizations – on behalf of the thousands of Philadelphians they collectively represent – made clear their priorities for the next mayor. After voting and deciding on our top issues for 2015, we got to work researching and refining our recommendations so that we covered all of the bases: Why is this important and what will it do? Are there other cities already doing this well? And, perhaps, the most important question: How do we pay for it?
This hard work culminated in an exciting agenda for 2015 with six brand new, high-impact, feasible actions that the next mayor can take in his or her first term of office that benefit every neighborhood in the City of Philadelphia. On February 18, members of the Next Great City Coalition presented this agenda at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Pop Up Garden in the Shops at Liberty Place. The event received great coverage and introduced our six new recommendations: healthy houses; nourished students; strong, local businesses; trails and bike lane access; clean public spaces; and storm preparedness.
Next up: On Tuesday, March 3, the Coalition is hosting its BOOKED TO CAPACITY Philadelphia Mayoral Candidates’ Forum at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Hundreds of people have registered to attend. The event is being hosted in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Philadelphia Flower Show, “Celebrate the Movies,” and is being co-presented by the Healthy Rowhouse Project. The event is completely free.
Five candidates have confirmed their attendance: Senator Anthony Hardy Williams, former City Council member Jim Kenney, former District Attorney Lynne Abraham, Doug Oliver, and the Hon. Judge Nelson Diaz.
All five candidates will be speaking to the six recommendations the Coalition has proposed and supported for 2015. This will be a great opportunity to kick start a substantive debate in this election so that citizens can make an informed decision about the future of Philadelphia.
We’ve done a lot in just a few months -- and we can’t wait to get started on the new initiatives we know will help Philadelphia reach its ultimate goal of becoming the Next Great City.
Katie Bartolotta is PennFuture's Philadelphia Outreach Coordinator. She tweets @KatieBartolotta.