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Mayor Parker’s five-year budget and strategic plan mentions Kensington 16 times. Here’s what it says.

The 761-page document mentions Kensington a total of 16 times – more than any other neighborhood, including Center City. 

(Photo illustration by Jill Bauer-Reese; photo courtesy of Office of the Mayor)

On March 14, Mayor Cherelle Parker presented her first five-year budget and strategic plan to Philadelphia City Council.


The 761-page document mentions Kensington a total of 16 times – more than any other neighborhood, including Center City.

Here’s a quick look (with more follow-up to come) at what the document says about Kensington. 

Direct Kensington mentions are highlighted in yellow.


Parker's proposed strategies

Public safety funding

My FY25 Budget includes $33.5 million in new investments in Public Safety, and $150.1 million over the Five Year Plan. Under Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel, this budget includes investments to increase the number of new Police Officers, increase capacity for community policing, reduce violent crime, address crimes involving quality-of-life issues (illegal use of ATVs, retail theft and other issues), and begin implementation of a new comprehensive strategy to shut down open-air drug markets in places like Kensington. All of this critical public safety work and new investments are occurring in the context of comprehensive public safety and public health plans being developed by Police Commissioner Bethel and Managing Director Adam Thiel.

— pages 6-7

Long-term care and treatment

This budget includes new investments to provide long-term housing, care, and treatment for the unhoused, those individuals struggling with addiction and with mental health challenges. Managing Director Thiel is actively developing options for providing long-term care and treatment for our most vulnerable residents, working with leaders in public health like Kevin Mahoney at Penn, Jim Cacchione from Jefferson, and Michael Young from Temple Health. The status quo in Kensington is unacceptable; help is on the way.

— page 7

Open-air drug markets

The Parker Administration’s response to open-air drug markets will begin in Kensington, the epicenter of the overdose crisis locally and regionally. The Mayor’s proposed budget supports a multi-phase initiative comprising resident engagement, enforcement, and restoration – with the overarching goal of increasing public safety and community health for those who live and work in Kensington. Local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors will focus on “weeding" out criminals who engage in violent crimes and drug abuse, while the City simultaneously "seeds" the area by infusing individual- and community-supporting services spanning prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization.

— page 21

A “weed and seed” enforcement approach

The PPD will launch a multi-phase initiative, starting in Kensington, comprised of a citizen engagement, enforcement, and restoration approach. This combined approach will be utilized simultaneously to attack the decades of open-air narcotics trade, addiction, homelessness, and criminal activity, all of which have had an immense impact on the quality of life for this community. Focusing on the strategies employed with Weed and Seed, where local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors focus on “weeding” out criminals who engage in violent crimes and drug abuse, and “seeding” by bringing human services to the area encompassing prevention, intervention, treatment, and neighborhood revitalization. The goal is to increase public safety and community health for those who live and work in the Kensington area.

— page 423

Recent Accomplishments

Mechanical street cleaning  

Sanitation expanded neighborhood mechanical street cleaning operations during 2023. A total of 32,229 miles of streets were cleaned, and more than 1.8 million pounds (943 tons) of trash and debris were removed throughout the course of the year. Street cleaning operations incorporated a hybrid approach of mechanical sweeping, sidewalk litter and trash removal, and trash compactor removal. The program expanded from 14 to 20 overall areas this year. The primary focus was on bridging the geographic gaps between many of the community areas already serviced to optimize the usage and efficiency of cleaning assets deployed in targeted areas, thus ensuring that expansion efforts remained focused on the areas where cleaning is most needed. Mechanical street cleaning now fully incorporates a large swath of geographic areas identified as having among the worst litter conditions, including the neighborhoods of Frankford, Germantown, Kensington, Logan, Nicetown, North Central, Paschall, Point Breeze, Port Richmond, South, Southwest, Strawberry Mansion, West, and West Fairhill.

— pages 155-156

FEMA grant

Awarded a $22.4 million competitive FEMA grant to hire 72 firefighter/EMTs. The grant helped restore Ladder 1 (Fairmount/Spring Garden/North Philly) in FY24 Q2 and will eventually enable the reopening of Ladder 11 (South Philly) and Engine 6 (Port Richmond/ Fishtown/Kensington). All three companies were taken out of service in 2009.

— page 198

Fire and social service task force

Partnered with the Managing Director’s Office, Police, Streets Department, Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, and numerous other city agencies to create a task force to extinguish fires and provide social services in Kensington.

— page 201

Mural Arts

Mural Arts continued its commitment to neighborhoods across Philadelphia to create collaborative artwork that centers community voice and the untold stories of Philadelphia. In particular, Mural Arts’ work in Kensington continues to thrive as Mural Arts listens and USA Today named Philadelphia the "Best City for Street Art," highlighting the expansive work of Mural Arts and Abbott Elementary featured Mural Arts in an episode in March 2023.

— page 376


Parks and Recreation

PPR provided safe and fun programming to thousands of Kensington families through the PlayParks initiative and PlayStreets. PlayParks provided a summer camp-like experience at three Kensington parks. There were 302 PlayStreet activations throughout the city, providing fun activities and serving 83,000 meals to children.

— page 376

Kensington Police District

The Kensington Police District (KPD) was created to enhance police engagement with the community and reduce violent crime and disorder within the boundaries of the new police district. In 2023, KPD experienced a 22 percent reduction in shooting victims within its boundaries and neighboring districts.

— page 420

Notable construction projects

The Department completed a variety of notable transportation projects during 2023, including completion of Cobbs Creek Segment “D” Trail for significant traffic safety improvements along Lindbergh Boulevard and accessing the John Heinz Refuge; the Kensington & Tacony (K&T) Trail Phase 2 project for the “rails-to-trails” construction of a pedestrian and bicycle path along the Delaware River from Magee to Princeton Avenues; the ADA Transition Ramp project in Center City and Society Hill; wide-scale historic street rehabilitation and ADA ramp construction in Society Hill, including Dock Street, 38th Parallel Place and Spruce Street; Cobbs Creek Parkway Safety Improvements, including guide rail replacements; Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project at Broad and Locust Street, which involved construction of raised roadway and crosswalk as well as ADA ramps, drainage and decorative crosswalks; and the Parkside Vision Zero Corridor Improvement Project.

— pages 543-544

New Kensington-focused job title

Kensington coordination

The report also included a new organizational chart for the city, with one Kensington-focused job title for Neftali Ramos, who is in charge of "Kensington coordination."

For Parker's full budget and five-year strategy documents, click here.

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