Temple stadium town hall shut down by protestors
A town hall scheduled for Tuesday evening convened by Temple University never occurred as protestors opposed to an on-campus stadium refused to allow university President Richard M. Englert to speak.
Gathered at Mitten Hall on North Broad Street, stadium opposition twice shouted down Englert as he attempted to address a cross-section of those for and against the multipurpose facility Temple has proposed.
Had the meeting not deteriorated into a one-sided shouting match those in attendance would have heard Englert say no current residents in the neighborhood just west of Broad Street near 15th and Norris will not lose their property if the project – estimated to cost around $130 million – moves forward.
Through its College of Education, Temple is proposing a building at 13th and Diamond streets, to be known as the Alpha Center, to provide early learning mental health, dental and job training resources for the immediate community, as well as research and training opportunities for students.
Temple plans to partner with the Laborers’ Union training facility near Broad and Master streets to make training opportunities more available in North Philadelphia.
It also plans an undetermined investment in the Amos Recreation Center located at 1817 N. 16th Street, and plans to make its 225,000 square foot, $170 million library, slated for completion in 2019, available to the community.
The project would result in the closing of 15th Street at Norris for half a block but open at Montgomery for traffic into the stadium.
The stadium, Temple said, will host just seven football games a year, and there are, for now, no plans for any concerts. Temple will likely offer the School District of Philadelphia an opportunity to play its Public League football championship game there.
“It’s very unfortunate that we were unable to have a dialogue tonight,” said Temple’s Chief University Spokesman, Ray Betzner. “We will have more conversations but exactly what form they will take we haven’t yet determined. But the important part is conversations are going to continue. Had the president been able to finish his remarks you would have heard that conversations are going to continue; that he’s committed to making sure that we have a strong relationship with the North Philadelphia community.”
He was adamant that no residents will be displaced.
“That’s one rumor that’s been going around, that somehow homes are going to be taken for this facility,” Betzner said. “Temple has all the land that it needs. There are no homes that are going to be taken.”