What Philly Should Have Learned From Baltimore About Land Banks

maria-quinones-sanchez-head-Shot-400x400After two years of crafting a land bank bill that would streamline the messy, maddening process of buying land from the city, Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez’s legislative magnum opus finally passed a first-reading last week, but far less triumphantly than many would have liked. In the 11th hour, Sanchez capitulated to an amendment by Council President Darrell Clarke that would effectively retain the stifling councilmanic control over the sale of land. (The bill  has since been passed.)

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Philly FIGHT and City Councilwomen Announce HIV Clinic for Spanish-Speakers

Philly FIGHT Executive Director Jane Shull and councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Marian Tasco announce a new HIV clinic at a City Hall press conference this morning.

Philly FIGHT Executive Director Jane Shull and councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Marian Tasco announce a new HIV clinic at a City Hall press conference this morning.

In a forward-thinking move, Philly FIGHT and city councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Marian Tasco announced at a press conference this morning the development of a brand-new HIV clinic that caters to Spanish-speaking Philadelphians.

The clinic will open Dec. 11 at the North Philadelphia Prevention Point space, located at 166 W. Lehigh Ave. It is the first of its kind in the city, and a testament to the growing Hispanic population in Philadelphia. Census data from 2010 demonstrates as much: Philly added 58,683 Hispanic residents in a 10-year period, an increase of 45.5 percent. As a region, it also has the second-largest Hispanic population in the Northeast.

Jane Shull, executive director of Philly FIGHT, says FIGHT applied for a Department of Health and Human Services Special Projects of National Significance grant in February, receiving a response two weeks ago that the department would fund the project. Councilwoman Quinones-Sanchez has contributed as, Shull says, “a strong voice for services in the community” — the starring role of “rallying the troops,” so to speak. Read more »

Is the Current Land Bank Bill Strong Enough?

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The coalition of developers, Realtors and community development corporations pushing to create a city land bank praised the bill Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sanchez is sponsoring for streamlining the city’s cumbersome process for getting vacant land into the hands of those who will redevelop it. But at a news conference today, they argued that the bill could speed things up even more and urged supporters to work for changes that would improve it.

The main purpose of the news conference called by the Philadelphia Land Bank Alliance (PLBA) was to spell out in detail just how cumbersome the process is and how both the current and improved bills would return vacant land to productive use faster.

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