Condition of Phila. police and fire stations at center of budget hearing
Members of City Council on Wednesday decried the condition of the city’s police and fire stations and accused the Nutter administration of failing to make fixing the problems a priority.
Members of City Council on Wednesday decried the condition of the city's police and fire stations and accused the Nutter administration of failing to make fixing the problems a priority. In the second day of budget hearings, Council President Darrell L. Clarke specifically pressed officials about the 22nd District station at 17th Street and Montgomery Avenue, the house where officer Robert Wilson III was stationed when he was killed last month at a nearby video game store.
Clarke called it "a dump." And when city officials said there is no immediate plan to replace the station, Clarke accused them of ignoring requests he said he has made for several years that problems there be addressed.
"We're not blowing you off. I'm sorry you're taking it that way," Rebecca Rynhart, the city's budget director, said.
"Yes you are," Clarke responded.
Rhynhart said the city has $16 million set aside for capital improvements at police and fire stations. The city's immediate plan is to spend $1 million on a master plan that will assess the overall status of existing facilities but also answer broader questions such as whether stations are in appropriate locations, officials said.
In regards to problems at existing stations, public property director Bridget Collins-Greenwald said the city has sent staff to every police and fire station to assess everything from the parking lots to the pipes. Each repair has been ranked in urgency, she said.
Councilwoman Cindy Bass asked how long the repairs would take.
"The conditions are really shocking," she said. "I mean, it's beyond appalling to see some of the conditions we ask professionals to go to."
Collins-Greenwald said repairs are under way and the city plans to put a work list in each station so employees know what needs to be done and can keep the city accountable if projects aren't completed.
Wednesday's hearing was on the city's capital budget. Budget hearings will continue Tuesday, when Council will consider budgets for the mayor's office, the Free Library of Philadelphia and the department of parks and recreation, among others.
Click here for Philly.com's politics page.