Volunteer with PowerCorpsPHL on MLK Day

Photo courtesy PowerCorpsPHL

What a better way to honor and celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr. by volunteering? On Jan. 19, PowerCorpsPHL, a new AmeriCorps program, is hosting three volunteer opportunities around the city, where you can honor the legacy of a man who dedicated his life to serving communities. The following is a list of sites where you can find PowerCorpsPHL crews giving back on Monday:

Organization: Teen Harmony/TEN2gether
: Athletic Recreation Center, 1400 North 26th St.
: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Teen Harmony aims to provide social change and environmental gain. This year's project will feature a discussion on Youth Violence, cleaning out the basement of the rec center, mural painting, a food and clothes drive, and a small art show.

Organization: Wharton Recreation Center
: Wharton Recreation Center, 2300 Wharton St.
: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Volunteers of all ages are welcome to come out to the Wharton Recreation Center to clean and paint the building. Lunch will be provided.

Organization: Vare Recreation Center
: Vare Recreation Center, 2600 Morris St.
: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The team at the Vare Recreation Center needs your help in revitalizing their space for underserved teens. They will be cleaning, painting, moving furniture, and hanging blinds. The center serves 25 to 40 teens from the Grays Ferry area every day and, with our help, can continue to keep kids off the streets.

More about PowerCorpsPHL from its website:

PowerCorpsPHL is an innovative, new AmeriCorps program designed to address Mayor Michael A. Nutter and Governor Tom Corbett’s environmental stewardship initiatives as well as the City of Philadelphia’s youth workforce development and violence prevention priorities. Partnering with EducationWorks and the Philadelphia Youth Network, PowerCorpsPHL will annually enroll 100 individuals, ages 18-26, in a 9-month program: 6 months of full-time service as AmeriCorps members with City departments followed by 3 months of intensive job placement support.


Over the next three years, PowerCorpsPHL will plant 3,000 trees, revitalize 3,000 acres of public land, educate 18,000 residents in watershed preservation, and connect 300 young adults to meaningful employment, post-secondary enrollment, or continued national service.

Pennsylvania gets tough on electronic waste, Philly wins national recycling award

Image via staples.comMayor Michael Nutter and Governor Tom Corbett may not always see eye-to-eye, but they can agree on one thing: more recycling.

As of January 24, Pennsylvania has implemented provisions for handling electronic waste, which when improperly disposed can leach heavy metals and toxins into our land and water supply. This Governor’s Covered Device Act, a bipartisan effort signed into law over two years ago, most notably bans the disposal of televisions, computers and other common household electronics in state landfills. Electronics manufacturers and municipalities must now provide Pennsylvanians with easily accessible drop-off points for their old electronics and process them in specially certified recycling facilities. Garbage trucks will no longer accept electronic waste.

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Future Track Program partners job development with city beautification projects

Image via Philadelphia Streets DepartmentIn another promising move to make Philadelphia a more thriving, self-sustaining city, Mayor Nutter has announced the launch of a new program, the Philly Future Track, which will provide job-training and skill development to 130 of the city’s young adults. Sponsored by the Mayor and the Philadelphia Streets Department, Future Track is intended to build civic and environmental stewardship among young adults in the 18 to 24 age range with no previous higher education or employment.
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Growing Greener: Philly builds first LEED-certified firehouse

Fire officials and Mayor Nutter perform the ceremonial "push" of the fire engine to open the new firehouse. | Photo by the Philadelphia Fire Department/ City of PhiladelphiaThis Tuesday, Philadelphia added to its growing list of green building achievements when it opened the city’s first LEED-certified firehouse. Built in Disston Park to serve Mayfair and Tacony, Engine 38 Firehouse is LEED Silver certified. The 12,200-square-foot firehouse features recycled materials from within 500 miles, solar panels and a green roof. Other unique elements include a community and training room, and exterior artwork that shows the history of the fire department and the Tacony neighborhood. The original firehouse was demolished when a new I-95 access ramp and interchange improvements were made at Cottman Avenue. 

Sustained Commitment: Now in his second term, Mayor Nutter continues to make green work

interview by Liz Pacheco | photos by Gene SmirnovOn his first day in office Mayor Nutter announced his intention to make Philadelphia “the greenest city in America.” Now, four years later, with his Greenworks plan in full swing, the Mayor has proven he’s serious. Our Green City, Clean Waters program is revolutionizing how cities handle their ancient stormwater systems. The growing number of urban gardens and farms is making access to local, fresh foods not just possible, but commonplace. Our recycling program is actually making money. And our plans for energy efficiency, whether through retrofits, new construction or renewable energy sources, are promising to significantly reduce our reliance on traditional fossil fuels. Recently, Grid had the chance to catch up with the Mayor and talk with him about his connection to Philadelphia parks, his at-home recycling habits and why there’s still hope for solar projects in the city.
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Beat the Monday Blues: Celebrate the opening of Grays Ferry Crescent riverfront park

The new Grays Ferry Crescent section of the Schuylkill Banks| Image via schuylkillbanks.org Don't let Monday get you down! Start next week off with an outdoor celebration of the latest park to join the Schuylkill River Waterfront. Next Monday, June 11, the Schuylkill River Development Corporation will be celebrating the grand opening of the Grays Ferry Crescent, a new park along the river at Schuylkill Avenue and Wharton Street. This new greenway has 3,700 feet of bicycle trails and 1,600 feet of walking trails, along with several lawn areas and fishing sites. Mayor Michael Nutter will be there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m., and the fun will continue until 2 p.m with park activities and a free picnic. For more information, visit the Schuylkill Banks website.

Change is Coming: Philadelphia zoning code finally revised


Image via phila.govIn August, we wrote about signing a petition for new zoning codes. And looks like you must’ve stepped up to the plate! On December 15, city council unanimously passed new codes. This was shortly followed by Mayor Nutter, who on December 22 signed the legislation, enacting new laws to officially take effect in August 2012.

So what, exactly, has changed? Considering the last major revision of Philadelphia’s zoning code happened in 1962, a lot, including a special focus on sustainability. Here are some examples:

  • Reducing vehicular traffic and promoting walking with regulations for mixed use districts (so people can live closer to work), creating Transit Oriented Development (for an example), and allowing retail buildings to be located closer to each other in more walkable patterns.
  • Encouraging renewable energy and energy conservation by allowing small wind energy systems and solar collectors.
  • Promoting water conservation through required compliance with the Philadelphia Water Department’s storm water regulations.
  • Adjusting zoning to be friendlier to urban farmers for community gardens, animal husbandry and greenhouses, among others.

To learn more about zoning in Philadelphia and the new codes process, visit zoningmatters.org.


Finally! Philly introduces carton recycling

Photo via Philadelphia GreenworksThe holiday season has a tendency to lead to a little overindulgence - especially in the food department. If you find yourself surrounded by empty cartons of eggnog and wine this holiday, at least you can feel good about what happens to the packaging once you’re done. Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Philadelphia Streets Department announced this week that Philadelphia will begin offering a carton recycling program. Residents can now toss milk, juice, soup, broth, soy milk, eggnog and wine cartons in recycling bins with their other recyclables. Motivated by a public private partnership with Carton Council, a collaborative of carton manufacturers devoted to reducing waste, the city’s new addition to its recycling program represents a growing trend across the nation. The number of American homes with access to carton recycling has doubled in the last three years--cities in more than 40 states already provide this service. Cartons will be accepted as part of Philadelphia’s recycling program starting today, so now you can ditch the evidence of your eggnog binge in a eco-friendly way.

- Missy Steinberg

News: Lean and Green by 2015

Mayor Nutter announced his plans for making Philadelphia the “greenest” city in America last month, highlighting five areas of interest and 150 initiatives he hopes to achieve by 2015. He has defined the ambitious plan as a restructuring of Philadelphia towards a “green economy,” which, if it lives up to its alternate meanings, could definitely help a city living through a recession.
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