Upper Darby school board votes to terminate lease with Clifton Heights

UPPER DARBY, Pa. (WPVI) -- Thirteen acres of ballfields, playgrounds and open space has been used for years by Clifton Heights for sports and recreation. But this land may have to serve another urgent need instead, and local officials are up in arms.

This argument has been brewing for some time. And already Monday night's vote to terminate the lease with Clifton Heights has been met with a promise by the mayor of Clifton Heights to sue and take this through the courts.

"You steamrolled this whole damn thing down our throats," yelled Clifton Heights resident Dave DiPhillipo during an Upper Darby Board of School Directors meeting.

The board was considering a vote to terminate the lease the district has with Clifton Heights for the use of their ball fields.

"It's gonna kill our community, it's gonna kill our community spirit," said another resident.

The move would clear the way for a feasibility study on the construction of a $60 million new middle school for 950 students to address overcrowding. The board says the plan calls for some ball fields on the site for the youth in Clifton Heights to continue their activities.

Some worry that this is not going to end well.

"Either you're gonna sue the Boro of Clifton or the Boro of Clifton is going to sue you," warned one resident.

But despite Mayor Lombardo threatening to sue, the board voted unanimously 8 to 0 to move forward with terminating the lease.

"It's absolutely un-American what they've done tonight, taxation without representation, we don't even have anybody on the school board," said Dave DiPhillipo following the vote.

Clifton Heights resident Denise Blankley said she was "so sad for Clifton, so sad for the kids."

Based on the vote, the lease with Clifton Heights would expire in August. But again, Mayor Lombardo has vowed to sue and the district says it's ready to meet any challenge.
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