Beverage tax monies to fund two new athletic fields in Philadelphia

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Beverage tax monies to fund two new athletic fields: Jeannette Reyes reports on Action News at 6 p.m., June 20, 2018 (WPVI)

City officials announced one of the first projects to launch under the initiative "Rebuild Philadelphia" Wednesday afternoon.

The project will create a neighborhood football field and a practice field. One on Parkside Avenue, the other behind the Mann Music Center in Fairmount Park.

The two sites will be used for sports programs by surrounding schools like Overbrook High School, School of the Future and others.

"I would rather go to a ribbon cutting where kids are finding their way out of the communities instead of being idle without play opportunities and find themselves on corners and in gangs and in caskets," said Councilman Curtis Jones.

Work is set to begin later this year.

The first of two phases will be paid for using $8 million in funds generated by the beverage tax, which went into effect January of last year and has been both harshly criticized and praised.

Anthony Campisi, spokesperson for the Ax the Philly Beverage Tax Coalition said the following about Wednesday's announcement:

"Philadelphia residents deserve a sustainable revenue source for these important programs, not a regressive tax that has cost nearly 1,200 jobs and fails to meet projections."

Mayor Jim Kenney noted to several positive outcomes from the implementation of the beverage tax.

"Wage tax collections, business tax collections are up. They opened two Shoprites since we passed the beverage tax," he said.

Ceina Hampton was initially against the beverage tax.

"I didn't know what they were going to use it for, but now since I know they're using it for something positive to give back then that's a different story," she said.

The project will be completed in two phases. The first will begin later this year, the second won't begin until the state supreme court decides whether it will uphold the beverage tax.

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