The Philadelphia City Council will consider blocking Mayor Parker’s plan for a triage center in Fairmount

The Philadelphia City Council will consider the legislation which seeks to effectively block Mayor Cherelle L. Parker’s administration from operating an addiction services center in Fairmount.

Some lawmakers and residents were surprised to learn from an Inquirer report last week that the administration had quietly opened an addiction recovery center at 2100 W. Girard Ave.

Sources say the facility was described as a triage center – one of several the Parker administration has proposed borrowing $100 million for construction across the city. Officials later called it a “wellness center” and then described it as an extension of existing city services in the form of a homeless shelter operating on the gated Fairmount campus.

Jeffery Young Jr., whose district includes the proposed Fairmount site, introduced legislation Thursday aimed at halting those plans. He said the administration had failed to inform him of any plans to repurpose or expand a city-run state facility in his district. He said his bill would prohibit the Department of Public Property from renewing or starting a up-to-date lease on a building.

Young, however, said he has not yet presented the proposal to city attorneys to see if such an action falls within the council’s purview.

“If the City Council has the authority to approve leases, I think we also have the authority to prohibit leases,” Young said. “As a lawyer… I think this is something we can do.”

A spokesman for the mayor’s office said the administration is reviewing the bill. Young said he would not oppose the facility once he received enough feedback.

“I’m obviously open to discussion, but there hasn’t been any discussion yet,” Young said.

What was the highlight of this week?

Councilmember Quetcy Lozada made it known she was not cheerful with criticism of Wednesday’s clearing of the Kensington encampment.

The scene did not unfold as planned Wednesday morning on Kensington Avenue, where aid workers arrived to find the area had already been cleared and officers had already moved people to nearby streets.

But Lozada, a Democrat whose district includes the area, disputed what she considered critics’ “false” emphasis on logistical mishaps.

“Yes, people weren’t there when the providers arrived,” Lozada said, crying on the council floor, “but that doesn’t mean they didn’t receive services.”

City aid workers helped place 59 people in housing, detox or treatment programs during the month-long relief effort leading up to the camp’s closure. The city authorities reported that there were 19 of them were connected to service on Wednesday.

What else happened this week?

Councilmember Anthony Phillips has introduced a bill that would prohibit most businesses along the West Oak Lane and parts of Mount Airy commercial corridors from operating after midnight.

Phillips represents the 9th District — made up mostly of middle-class Black homeowners — where Parker worked before becoming mayor.

He said tobacco shops, slot machines and 24-hour convenience stores have begun popping up in his peaceful neighborhood in recent years.

“Residents in our neighborhood have become concerned about businesses that are open late at night,” Phillips said. “The residents of the 9th arrondissement want peace, they want cleanliness and they just want an oasis of joy in their neighborhood.”

Phillips said the bill as introduced is narrowly targeted at a few corridors that have received complaints, but he sees it as an attempt to impose a midnight curfew on such businesses across the 9th District.

He says the bill includes several exceptions, essentially exempting people with licenses to operate a restaurant or sell alcohol.

“The bar could still be open, and we also have a McDonald’s that could also stay open because it has drive-thru,” Phillips said.

The up-to-date bill was inspired by similar legislation introduced by Lozada earlier this year that ordered many businesses in Kensington to close by midnight.

While Phillips’ district doesn’t have much in common with Lozada’s Kensington district, he said it was inspiring to see his colleague take aggressive action.

“When I saw Councilwoman Lozada’s bill, I was excited that she was trying to take a stand on public nuisance issues in the city,” Phillips said. “So, I asked, what can we do?”

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