Letter Asks to Stop the Sale of the Pepper Middle School
UPDATE (11/14/16): The Philadelphia School District has decided not to sell the Pepper and ComTech school sites until after the Eastwick planning process. Here is the School District’s statement:
“The measure to sell the Pepper School and ComTeach in Eastwick has been withdrawn for consideration to allow for a planning study to determine the best use for the parcels.”
On November 9, 2016, our client the Eastwick Friends and Neighbors Coalition sent a letter to the Philadelphia School Reform Commission asking it to stop the sale of the Pepper Middle School (Pepper) and Communications Technology center (ComTech).
Eastwick, aware of the dire need of the revenue that would result from the sale, believes that taking the time to engage the community, the City of Philadelphia, and its economic and community development agencies in the sale of the properties will bring in more bidders and sell the properties at more competitive prices.
The letter states, “It should be important to all of us to ensure that whoever acquires the Pepper and ComTech sites has the capacity to develop and maintain the site so that it is not a threat and is instead, a benefit for the public safety, health, and welfare of Eastwick.”
The Pepper property falls in some of the lowest elevations in the city and is within a Federal Emergency Management Agency Special Flood Hazard Area. Asbestos and illegal dumping are also major concerns. These are just a few of the environmental concerns that need to be properly addressed by any new ownership.
In addition, another reason to halt the sale is the large public recreation facility that lies on the property which is used and beloved by many of the residents. The community deserves a voice in the future of this property.
The Eastwick Community has the approval of the Mayor and has secured the help of the Philadelphia Redevelopment authority and the Philadelphia International Airport to invest in an Eastwick Planning process. The Eastwick Community has complete faith that the plan will benefit all parties involved.