Temple’s stadium doesn’t have to be an exploitative entity in an underserved community; it has the opportunity to work with neighbors to smartly manage growth, writes Ken Shropshire, CEO of Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University, contributing to the Philadelphia Citizen. In response to WURD Radio’s Charles Ellison’s recent op-ed suggesting that the Owls stay at the Linc, Shropshire points to several examples of collegiate stadiums that addressed concerns about impact with meaningful investments in creating jobs and opportunities for people living in the surrounding neighborhood. A few ideas to steal: Arizona State’s transformation of its stadium into a year-round hub of activity with farmers markets, concerts, and seminars open to the surrounding community. Outside of the university domain, the Atlanta Falcons’ workforce development center, financial center, community center, and local hiring practices. The Detroit Pistons’ stadium deal offers some equity-minded inspiration as well. There, the team hired 51 percent local for the stadium’s construction and provided job training to those living nearby. Notably, the Pistons have also “paid $2.5 million over six years to repair 60 neighborhood basketball facilities that have fallen into disrepair.” Given the need for more investment in the city’s rec facilities, Temple could benefit from taking notes.
Frankford residents can rest easier knowing that crime rates are dropping and police are taking guns off neighborhood street at an increased pace, the Northeast Times reports. At a recent community meeting, the Frankford Civic Association shared 2017 neighborhood crime stats: rates of aggravated assault, burglary and theft hit their lowest mark since 2013 and rates of robbery remain lower than they were in 2013 though 2017 rates were slightly higher than 2016.The rate of crimes involving a gun has held steady since 2013 while rates of arrest for weapons violations has risen to a new high, 38 percent higher than the 2013 arrest rate, according to civic association board member Bob Smiley. “That is good news because those guns are off the street,” he said. In Philadelphia as a whole, violent crime rates fell in 2017 and many neighborhoods across the city now enjoy crime rates lower now than they have been in decades. Yet there is one notable exception: last year, the city’s homicide rate spiked to a record high unseen seen 2012, a trend police linked to the opioid crisis. Two of the city’s most violent police districts — the 24th and 25th — intersect in Kensington, in the heart of the city’s open-air drug markets and where heroin users have flocked amid a national opioid epidemic,” reported Inquirer staff writer Chris Palmer in December. Yet as Palmer notes, other areas of the city have also continued to experience steep increases in homicides. These areas include sections of South Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia, Mayfair and parts of Northwest Philadelphia.
Over in West Philadelphia, Penn’s Assistant VP of Community Relations attended the Spruce Hill Community Association’s Zoning Committee flanked with architects from Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects and the Office of the University Architect staff, University City Review reports. The Penn contingent showed up to provide the plans for the approved design for the new on-campus 250,000 square foot 450 student residential building at Walnut and 40th Streets; attendees expressed a few initial concerns, including effects on the structural integrity of the freestanding 40th Street Library the loss of green space, and the University’s lack of a current plan to rectify the state of 40th Street as a whole.
West Philly is also home to the city’s first protected bike lane, though three bills to expand Philadelphia’s disjointed bike lane network advanced out of Council’s streets and services committee Wednesday. Jim Saksa reports that the first two bills call for new, short bike lanes on Race Street in Chinatown and on Island Avenue near Philadelphia International Airport and the third removes parking on Torresdale Avenue to allow for a crosswalk connecting two sides of the Pennypack Trail. for the Bicycle Coalition policy coordinator Bob Previdi called the bills “three small steps, but three important steps.”
It’s restoration season! As faithful Philadelphians flocked to the installation of the beloved LOVE statue to its rightful home in LOVE Park this week, Hidden City Philadelphia looks at two other historic statues that were recently installed to their former locations at Fairmount Water Works. In December 2017, and Parks and Recreation installed a bronze reproduction of Allegory of the Schuylkill River back in center of the South Garden’s Central Marble Fountain, which has been empty since 1937. In late January, a replica of the sculpture Mercury was placed back at the Mercury Pavilion on the cliff above the Fairmount Water Works buildings, which has been empty since the 1880s. Contributor Len Pundt writes that the “placement of the sculptures represents the capstone of [restoration] efforts that began in the 1970s,” when “all of the original sculptures had either disappeared, been placed in storage, or loaned to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for preservation and display.”
Editors Note: This article has been updated to clarify that the Atlanta Falcons stadium is not a university stadium.