Temple’s Community Center Proposal Draws Community Opposition

At City Council’s public hearing Monday, many North Philadelphia residents testified against the proposal for a new community center.

A group of community members and the Stadium Stompers sat at the hearing shaking their heads in disappointment. Community members who testified said they don’t want it.

Community Leader Linda Waters-Richardson outlined some of reasons why some residents do not want the center.

“So with the transparency, competition, educational efficacy, foot and vehicle traffic, we are opposed to this project,” she says.

Dean of the College of Education Gregory Anderson is one of the leaders of this project.

Rendering courtesy of City Planning Commission

“The proposed building will bring together one facility located close to the community, a number of community services which will allow for innovation,” the Dean says.

The City Planning Commission released renderings of the Alpha Center last month, which has no connection to the proposed stadium. The building will sit at 13th and Diamond streets.

With the renderings, Temple included a detailed review which was discussed at the meeting.

Rendering courtesy of City Planning Commission

An early learning center, dental clinic, and a workspace for the College of Education are only a few of the many resources the center would provide.

Community members say it’s an ongoing battle with Temple University. They say many projects in the past did not include the community, but only pushed them out. They feel this Alpha Center will do just that.

Paula Peebles, Chairwoman of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Action Network says, “We know Temple. It’s always a bait and switch and it’s no different with this project.”

Peebles adds she and other residents have been fighting with Temple University for five decades, protesting against their previous projects. Those who testified say the Alpha Center is not for the community, but for Temple.

At least one former Temple student stood with those who testified. Temple Graduate Fiona Cavanagh says Temple needs to build a better relationship with the community.

“I believe that Temple has a responsibility to right their wrongs before they try and do these new things,” Cavanagh says.

The council will hold the bill and decide on it at a later date as requested by Councilman Darrell Clarke. As for now, the community members who testified says they want Temple to leave them alone.

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