“The Roundhouse” at Seventh and Race has been home to the Philadelphia Police Department since 1963. With PPD moving to a new headquarters soon, the Roundhouse site is ready for a second act.
And Philadelphia residents are going to help guide the way.
On January 19, the City issued a Request for Proposals for a team to lead a community engagement process. That team will gather input from residents across the city to help guide a redevelopment plan for the site.
It will not be an easy task. For many, the building is a reminder of police brutality. Its construction took place in a time when large properties were simply cleared in the name of “urban renewal.”
At the same time, to architects and preservationists, the building is iconic. It sits on a valuable parcel. It has the potential to generate significant revenue to address education, social service, public safety, and other critical needs.
The engagement team will be charged with identifying a way to align a community vision for the site with the need for tax revenue. To meet that goal, the team will reach out citywide.
Over the years, the relationship between the police and communities they serve has been fraught. That conflict included Philadelphians of all races, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, gender identities, and incomes.
The engagement team will seek input from members of all these groups. The team’s goal is to create a vision plan for the site that provides community-driven, realistic guidance to the City regarding its future use.
The City expects to select the consultant team in March. Community engagement will begin in May and run through October. The consultant will issue a final report in December.
Keep an eye on this site for information as the process moves forward.