Happy New Year! We’re approaching 2019 with a renewed energy to continue the momentum we’ve built.
Mayor Kenney remains committed to his vision of ensuring Philadelphia works for all residents. That’s been the focus of our Administration, and it remains the focus as we head into the fourth year in office.
Here are seven big goals we’re looking forward to achieving in 2019:
Add 1,000 PHLpreK spots to provide free, quality pre-K to more of our city’s kids.
In the 2019-2020 school year, PHLpreK will grow to serve 3,300 Philadelphia students — up from 2,250 this year. This essential early education program is possible thanks to funding from the Philadelphia Beverage Tax. Now that the legal challenges to the tax are behind us, we can continue to build on this proven initiative.
Know a child who will be 3 or 4 years old by September 1, 2019? Enrollment begins in June. Sign up for updates.
Start 40 improvement projects for parks, recreation centers, and libraries as part of the Rebuild program.
Thanks to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s July ruling that upheld the Philadelphia Beverage Tax, 2019 will be the first full year that Rebuild has the resources to contribute significant new investments in neighborhood parks, recreation centers, and libraries.
Rebuild will launch at least 40 projects this year to improve community facilities that serve residents across Philadelphia.
Support students, families, and communities through new community schools.
We’ll add to our current total of 12 community schools in the new school year. In these public schools, full-time coordinators (City of Philadelphia employees) work with the entire community — students, parents, teachers, administrators, service providers, and neighbors — to bring more programs and services into the school and ultimately improve attendance and support learning outcomes. Looking ahead over the next several years, we’ll grow to 20 total community schools.
Related to schools, we’re continuing to work with the School District of Philadelphia, which returned to local control in 2018. This year, we look forward to working closely with superintendent Dr. William Hite, the new Local Education Board, and City Council to improve school facilities, operations, and educational outcomes for all children.
Launch street sweeping pilot in the spring.
The Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet, in coordination with the Streets Department, will begin a neighborhood street sweeping pilot in multiple locations around the city.
We’ll use the Litter Index, which maps areas of the city with the highest concentrations of street litter, to implement the pilot and measure the success of the program. Look for an announcement about the specific neighborhoods in the coming months. After the pilot, which will run through December, we’ll determine the best way to roll out the program to more neighborhoods.
This move complements the other Zero Waste and Litter Cabinet efforts to tackle Philadelphia’s litter problem. Most recently, we hired new environmental crimes detectives focusing on illegal dumping and are installing new cameras in illegal dumping hot spots throughout the city.
Achieve long-term goals of the Philadelphia Resilience Project, #ResilientPHL.
In 2018, the City established a new emergency response to tackle the opioid crisis once and for all. Some of our progress so far: regular cleanups, safer corridors around schools, the closure of major encampments, and reduced homelessness. We look forward to continuing this innovative effort and bringing much-needed resources to the Kensington area.
Continue to support job growth with new grant program.
For the past several years, Philadelphia’s job growth rate has outpaced the national average, thanks, in part, to our small local businesses.
In 2019, we’ll invest more in our neighborhoods with CDC Economic Development Support Grants. The program will provide operational funding to community development corporations so that they can create and retain neighborhood businesses and jobs. We are dedicated to an inclusive approach to economic growth, and programs like this one are part of that strategy.
Expand six-day service in all Free Library neighborhood branches.
All 54 branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia will offer Saturday hours by the new school year. This expansion and our improvement efforts through Rebuild (see above) will ensure that our libraries continue to serve our communities.
We’re looking forward to another year of working for this great city.