Temple board again takes up football stadium proposal

Temple University’s board of trustees will resume talks Monday afternoon about building a multimillion-dollar football stadium on the school’s North Philadelphia campus.

In December, the board tabled the discussion after Mayor Jim Kenney said he opposed the projected $100 million project. Still against it, he added that a number of neighborhood issues need to be addressed before he would change his mind.

“How would you feel if you lived in a neighborhood where you had young students who decide to party on a Wednesday at 2 a.m. in the morning, where they put trash out haphazardly or you have a neighborhood full of developers who are just irresponsible?” said Kenney.

Right now, Temple leases Lincoln Financial Field from the Philadelphia Eagles for its football games. Kenney said he’d rather see the Owls continue playing there, and he’s working with both parties to see if a more equitable deal can be reached.

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Temple pays roughly $1 million a year to rent the Linc. The school does not get money from concessions or parking.

Temple President Neil Theobald has said he’d like to move forward with the proposed 35,000-seat arena, targeted for a space behind the Liacouras Center on North Broad Street.

Neither Theobald nor board chairman Patrick O’Connor responded to requests for comment.

O’Connor has said a new stadium would be “less expensive than what we pay at the Linc on a yearly basis.”

Temple students have mixed opinions about the project, a topic that’s “on fire” on campus.

“Their claims are gentrification, kind of Temple expanding more into North Philadelphia. And then people who are for it saying we’re a D1 school with a growing football program. Most D1 schools have a stadium, but most importantly, the Linc is very expensive,” said senior Brittany Boston, vice president of services for Temple’s Student Government.

The board meeting follows a historic season for the Owls. They started 7-0, were nationally ranked and competed in a bowl game.

Temple’s lease with the Eagles runs through 2019, but the team has agreed to extend the agreement if needed.

The stadium is one of several major projects transforming Temple’s campus, including the new library planned for 13th Street and Polett Walk.

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