Meeting held for community members to discuss improvement district

Residents from around Main Campus met Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the Gesu School library at 17th and Thompson streets in response to City Council President Darrell Clarke’s proposed North Central Neighborhood Improvement District.

The meeting, hosted by the Community Land Trust Corporation, served to discuss ways to counteract Clarke’s proposal. The main point of contention for residents is a fee that would be imposed on property owners in the area to fund the district.

“Enough is enough, I mean when you are just taking everybody’s money,” Vivian VanStory, president and founder of the CLTC, said. “We have the Liberty Bell here, there’s no liberty.”

Speakers at the meeting included Maria and John Yuen of the Chinatown North section of the city. A similar bill was introduced in their neighborhood and was defeated as a result of pressure from residents, led by the Yuens.

“What’s unfair about this bill is that they sell this bill as cleaner neighborhoods, green neighborhoods and green neighborhoods. Who does not want that?” John Yuen said.

The Yuens explained the process of how the improvement districts are implemented and how they were taxed on top of their real estate tax for the services from the district. Maria Yuen expressed concern that such districts take away from the tradition of the neighborhoods.

“I never knew who these people were. They wanted my money. So they have to come to my neighborhood, tell me how to run my neighborhood, how to clean up my neighborhood,” she said. “So, what I’m saying to you is that people have to take charge of their own neighborhoods.”

VanStory agreed with the Yuens and said the money needs to go to the neighborhoods, not to a third party company.

“We need to make sure the block captains get the money, not their third party,” VanStory said. “We’re going to make them give it back to us.”

Sean Carlin can be reached at sean.carlin@temple.edu

For more on this, pick up The Temple News on Tuesday, Jan. 31.

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