North Broad Street could be in for a renaissance. A stretch has been chosen for a federal program that aims to encourage development in low-income areas. While it may sound great on the surface, some believe it could spell disaster for long-time residents. In Allentown, the famed Cadets drum corps leaned on their long-time director for guidance, before he was accused of sexual misconduct by several members of the organization. Now, a new Inquirer investigation has unearthed more issues within the drum corps community.
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The stretch of Broad Street from Susquehanna to Allegheny Avenue has been selected for the Trump Administration’s Opportunity Zones program. The initiative gives tax breaks to developers who choose to build in low-income areas.
North Broad — once known for its opulent mansions — is now home to some of the city's deepest poverty rates and most violent crime. Many hope this program will lead to the infusion of cash that the corridor needs.
But not everyone is convinced. While the program does aim to revitalize low-income areas, it doesn't specify what kind of development can take place in these neighborhoods. Some see that as a potentially bad sign for long-time residents.
In April, a scandal shook the drum corps community involving one of its most decorated leaders, George Hopkins. Twelve women told the Inquirer they were sexually harassed or abused by Hopkins and he was recently charged with sexually assaulting two of them.
A new investigation by the Inquirer found nearly a dozen cases over the last decade in which teachers who had been disciplined for misconduct with students went on to work in drum corps as instructors, administrators, or judges.
Others had records that include crimes of a sexual nature. The records paint a troubling pattern of hiring practices in an activity that draws thousands of young participants each year.
In 1990, people of color outnumbered white people in 10 boroughs, townships, and cities around Philadelphia. Now, 30 local municipalities are considered "majority-minority," reflecting a national trend, according to Census data.
In our region, that means local officials will increasingly face issues that arise among groups with varying cultural norms, as different communities have different needs.
Now, that's what I call #SquadGoals. Thanks for sharing, @maisy_thecorgi.
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