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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nijmie Dzurinko, (215) 667-0066
Take Back Vacant Land Coalition condemns tragedy at 22nd and Market, Urges Swift Passage of Land Bank Legislation for greater accountability and transparency
The deadly collapse at 22nd and Market reminds us yet again that bad land decisions can kill. Not surprisingly, the owner of the building that collapsed, killing five women and one man, is a speculator who sat on blighted properties, waiting on a profit. He joins thousands of other speculators in this city who harm our city, increasing blight, avoiding taxes and draining our communities. Land is a precious resource, and this resource should be in the hands of people who have the best interests of everyday Philadelphians, like those working and shopping at the Salvation Army Thrift store yesterday, at heart.
Yesterday’s tragedy reminds us that we don’t have the luxury to wait on reforming Philadelphia’s broken land policies Take Back Vacant Land, a broad-based coalition of over 45 community, faith and labor groups, urges the swift passage of bill #130156, that would enact a Land Bank in Philadelphia. This legislation, spearheaded by Councilwoman Maria Quinonez Sanchez with input from concerned residents throughout the city, would facilitate transforming vacant, blighted and delinquent land to uses that benefit our residents – small business that creates jobs, affordable and accessible housing, green space and urban farming and gardening.
Philadelphians who are concerned about declining revenue, public school closings, and lax enforcement of tax collection would be smart to get throw their weight behind the Land Bank. Getting buildings back into productive use means more revenue for our schools and public services. Providing sustainable businesses access to land means more jobs our communities desperately need. Affordable and accessible housing means quality homes for the tens of thousands of Philadelphians that need it. And greater transparency and accountability about how land changes hands in Philadelphia has the potential to save lives.
Campaign to Take Back Vacant Land membership includes the following groups: Action United * Advocates for West Fairhill Community * AFSCME 1199c * AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power * Arab American CDC * Campaign for Working Families * Christ Centered Housing Ministries * Circle of Hope Church * Disabled in Action * District 1199c Training and Upgrading Fund * East Kensington Neighbors Association * East Park Revitalization Alliance * •Faculty and Staff Federation of Community College of Philadelphia * Fight for Philly * Firm Hope Baptist Church * Food Organizing Collaborative * Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania * Liberty Resources * Love Loving Love * My Place Germantown * Neighborhood Networks * Norris Square Civic Association * Northern Liberties Neighbors Association * Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance * Philadelphia Orchard Project * Philadelphia Unemployment Project * Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign * Port Richmond West CAN * Queen Village Neighbors Association * SEIU 32BJ * SEIU Healthcare PA * South Philadelphia EPIC Stakeholders * Temple Presbyterian Church * Temple University Hospital Association (TUHNA/PASNAP) * Unite HERE * United Communities of Southeastern Philadelphia * UFCS 1776 * Weavers Way Co-op * West Central Germantown Neighbors * Working Group for a Grassroots Movement * Women’s Community Revitalization Project
Take Back Vacant Land: Working for a Land Bank We Can Trust
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