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Tasco Accuses Nutter Of Deliberately Delaying Playground Renovation

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - A veteran city council member is accusing Mayor Nutter of holding up the renovation of a playground in her district to "punish" her for her stance on the mayor's plan to sell PGW.

At a public budget hearing Wednesday, 9th District Councilwoman Marian Tasco voiced anger over delays in the rehabilitation of the Sturgis Playground at 2nd Street and 65th Avenue in East Oak Lane:

"We can't seem to get an answer regarding who caused the delay for the Sturgis playground project. We're supposed to have openness and transparency. And I can't get an answer about why my rec center was held up."

Tasco said the matter should be probed by either the city's Inspector General or Chief Integrity Officer:

"One of them should find some way to investigate what happened."

Then, speaking later to reporters, Tasco accused Mayor Nutter of holding up the playground project as "retribution" because she -- as a member of the Gas Commission -- opposed the use of PGW money to explore the sale of the city-owned utility:

"Those families have been looking for a long time to have that facility enlarged, because we have a lot of new families moving into East Oak Lane. And for them to hold it up because they did not like my position on the sale of PGW I think is irresponsible. (The delay) punished my community, and the citizens of the city. Those folks in East Oak Lane voted for the mayor as well as for me. They are his constituents, and (he) should not treat them in such a way."

A spokesman for the mayor issued a statement saying the Sturgis renovation was delayed, not cancelled, "because the Administration was focused on other pressing issues." The statement said the work is now "back on track."

Other council members at the hearing complained loudly about the length of time it takes to complete any public works project in the city. Aides to the mayor said UPS is advising them on streamlining that process.

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