Developing Fairmount Park in limbo

May 19, 2009 3:33:01 PM PDT
Allowing development within Fairmount Park has been up for discussion amongst city leaders in Philadelphia. But the future of the bill that would bring residential and commercial projects to the park is in limbo. Fairmount Park will soon be under the complete control of the mayor and city council. The independent Fairmount Park Commission has been abolished and already city council has handled legislation that would open up the entire park to housing development, parking, and commercial building construction and so on.

The controversial bill introduced by Councilwoman Joan Krajewski supposedly aimed at loosening L and I restrictions on operations at Glen Foerd on the Delaware, an historic estate, but as written it could have opened up full can of worms.

"It was written in too broad a fashion it really affected more than just Glen Foerd but other parks and recreation around the city," said Tony Radwanski of the Glen Foerd Conservation Corp.

"Housing, commercial developed concessions, parking lots, roads things that right now are not permitted," said Michael DiBerardinis, Parks and Recreation Commissioner.

Word that this measure was circulating upset a lot of park lovers.

"It would create building homes, building stores, shopping centers whatever they want to build here. I'm against that. We need our park, we need this beautiful park," said Ed Dixon.

"No commercial developments we like it, no no, not right here, this is beautiful, we come down here sometimes two, three times a week," said Beverly Knight.

Top city hall officials say the legislation will be fine tuned to quote "zero in on Glen Foerd and some of the long standing zoning issues here."

A new Park and Recreation and Advisory Commission is in the works to shape policies on use of Fairmount Park.

"That would be silly, there are other areas of Philadelphia that could be commercialized," said William Knight.

Late Tuesday the controversial bill was pulled off the table postponing any city council action until fall when top city officials claim the proper safeguards can be inserted to protect the park long term.

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