THE CHALLENGE — MUNICIPAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
Tinicum Township in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, is best known as the location of the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL). The township, with a population of nearly 4,100, is the majority home to PHL, a 3.2 million-square-foot airport, two-thirds of which is in the township. The airport is by far the largest single business entity in the township and has continuously grown over the past three decades. In 2015 alone, nearly 30 million passengers traveled through the airport and, logically, traveled through Tinicum Township to get to the airport. With no slowdown of traffic in sight, plans were being put in place to significantly expand the airport. Those plans were designed and managed by the City of Philadelphia and airport authorities. Noticeably absent from all this planning was anyone with Tinicum Township — even though the expansion plans called for the annexation of 230 acres of land in the township, the loss of 72 houses, and the displacement of about 300 residents, not to mention increased traffic and major changes in the local infrastructure. Clearly, Tinicum Township needed, but had not been given, a voice at the table. The township hired Furia Rubel for municipal public relations support.
OUR DELIVERABLES — MUNICIPAL PUBLIC RELATIONS
Tinicum Township took two important steps. First, it filed a lawsuit seeking a declaratory judgement requiring the City of Philadelphia to get consent from the township for expansion plans.
Second, knowing that the lawsuit could be akin to a tree falling in a forest when no one is around to hear it, the township asked for Furia Rubel’s municipal public relations help in bringing its voice to the fore.
The Furia Rubel team put in place a media outreach, community, and government relations effort to bring maximum attention to the township’s fight. A press conference was hosted to announce the lawsuit and explain the major impact expansion would have on residents.
Essentially, Furia Rubel put a face to the expansion — the people of Tinicum Township, who could lose homes, jobs, and a way of life without ever having a chance to participate in airport expansion plans.
The township reengaged Furia Rubel in 2014 and 2015 to assist with municipal public relations,press conferences and town hall meetings when the City of Philadelphia, Delaware County, Tinicum Township, and Interboro School District announced that they had reached an agreement that would enable the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL to move forward with its airport expansion plan without the need to acquire 72 Tinicum Township homes and relocate approximately 300 Tinicum residents.
Furia Rubel’s efforts on behalf of Tinicum Township resulted in more than 110,000 million media impressions. Numerous local and regional news outlets covered the press conferences and town hall meetings, including six Philadelphia broadcast affiliates of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, KYW Newsradio, and NPR. More than 30 print publications covered the story, including the Associated Press, USA Today, Philadelphia Business Journal, Philadelphia Daily News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Delaware County Times. More importantly, the township was given a seat at the table for all plans involving airport expansion.