City officials to begin plaza renovation project soon
A permit granted to Occupy Philly protestors reportedly expires at the beginning of a large project to renovate the City Hall plaza. City officials reportedly posted notices on Wednesday at the site informing protesters they will need to vacate the plaza and have all their personal belongings removed. The construction project has apparently been in the works for some time.
The construction project aims to turn the plaza into an open space with trees, and a large lawn with an outdoor café and a fountain. The project will also increase access to the city’s transit system.
Some of the protestors apparently filed an application on Thursday for a permit to relocate their encampment to another plaza across the street from City Hall. That application is apparently still pending.
Some protestors have also met with labor-union representatives that support the Occupy movement, but who also support the renovation project as it will create jobs. In total, the project will create 800 construction jobs over the course of two years. A rally is apparently being planned on Thursday afternoon in connection with union reps.
Philadelphia officials have mostly cooperated with the Occupy protestors so far, but things may be winding down in the relationship. Mayor Nutter has announced that the encampment has become a threat to public health and safety, and pointed to an alleged rape, unclean conditions, and a small fire as evidence. He accused the protestors of violating the terms of their permit.
Hopefully relations between the Occupy movement and city officials will remain solid enough that the relocation or dissolution of the encampment is without incident.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “Occupy Philly Protestors Are Told to Move,” Peter Loftus, November 17, 2001.