From the Philadelphia Park Alliance:
Wednesday night the Parks and Recreation Commission heard public comment on the first major test of Philadelphia’s new Open Lands Protection Ordinance, Temple University’s proposal to build a boathouse on parkland. Temple packed the meeting with students, rowers and other supporters who testified that Temple’s rowing teams “need a home.”
Park advocates, while not opposed to Temple having a boathouse, expressed deep concern over Temple’s proposal for several reasons. A major concern was that Temple’s plan does not, as required by the Ordinance, propose substitute land to replace the public parkland where Temple wants to build a 23,000 square foot boathouse. Advocates also testified that Temple should have consulted with park friends groups and recreation advisory councils and considered the impact of their proposal on urban forestry.
As Maura McCarthy, Executive Director of Friends of the Wissahickon, said to students at the hearing, “This is a totally solvable problem. You should ask the University to get you some substitute land and pretty much most of the concerns would be addressed.”
The Commission will accept public comments through January 31st and will make its recommendation to City Council by March 9th, 2013. The Parks Alliance will continue to monitor and keep you informed about this issue.