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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: September 1, 1996
Byline: Edwin H. Hermance, Philadelphia

Letter: Making the Mall work through reconstruction, planting and tax credits

Two small ideas toward the solution of the Independence Mall problem:

One in a thousand will complain that they can't take an unobstructed photograph of Independence Hall from three blocks away. The rest of us will enjoy the shade, the activity, and the human scale.

Now the big idea:

Grant irresistable tax credits to people who relocate their traditional crafts to buildings on what is now the Mall. Philadelphia is still the national center of the stained-glass and flag trades. Some people in town still make the wrought iron that has graced New Orleans' galleries for 150 years. The Horticultural Society should come back to Old City and serve as a gateway to the region's extraordinary botanical history and gardens and agriculture. Let's add to such a list of potential tenants. Maybe someone would move the stables for the current tourist carriages onto the Mall; maybe someone would manufacture better carriages.

This would extend Old City into what is now the Mall/desert. The President's House would be a great counterpoint to Society Hill's beautiful old townhouses. The commercial activity would strengthen the good parts of Old City north of Market Street the art galleries, the wholesalers, artisans, craftspeople, and suppiers of all kinds.

If the energy that went into redeveloping Society Hill went into redeveloping the measly three blocks of the Mall, we would have a fine new neighborhood that would quickly pay back its cost.


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