Officials discussed three possible sites for a baseball stadium. They say you can't please all of the people all of the time. But in the ongoing deliberations over where to build the new stadium for the Phillies baseball team, it seems that no one will ever be pleased with a location. In a town hall meeting last night in City Hall, Mayor John Street joined City Council members, team representatives and about 200 community members to debate the merits of three proposed Center City sites for the future baseball stadium. Council has pledged to approve a stadium deal by the fall so that the Phillies will be in a new home by April 2003. For nearly three hours the recommendations released yesterday morning by the Stadium Subcommittee were discussed. The committee recommended three downtown locations for the stadium -- on the eastern and western ends of Broad and Spring Garden streets or on 12th and Vine streets. According to committee members, a downtown location would have a greater economic impact on the city -- an argument that former Mayor Ed Rendell had supported. "You can get a better return on dollars by having it closer to Center City," said committee co-chairman Kenneth Shropshire, a Penn Legal Studies professor. The 12th and Vine site was preferred by the committee, which said it posed the fewest logistical problems. But many community members, and indeed the Phillies themselves, said they do not agree. Team representatives yesterday said they want to construct the new stadium in South Philadelphia at the Sports Complex -- which includes the 29-year-old Veterans Stadium, the First Union Center and the Spectrum -- where the Philadelphia Eagles have long since committed to build. "We do not believe there is a viable site in Center City, with the amenities available, at this time," Phillies President Dave Montgomery said. Phillies management has said they believe that a downtown location will never be accepted by the surrounding communities, and they want to finalize plans to get the stadium built quickly. The downtown site up for consideration last fall -- at Broad and Spring Garden streets -- met with huge community outrage. The same fervor is in danger of killing the new plans. "I was shocked and appalled that 11th and Vine was chosen as a site of the new stadium," said Jennie Wang, a Chinatown community leader. "We oppose, we oppose, we oppose and we will lay our bodies down in front of the steamrollers if we have to." And backed by about 45 students and teachers, Lisa Cancelliere, the principal of Holy Redeemer School at 915 Vine Street, said that having a stadium nearby would threaten student safety and bring traffic problems to the area. "This is a neighborhood," she said. "Nobody would put a stadium in a neighborhood. It just doesn't belong." Although less vocal, residents from other areas under consideration also voiced their concerns. "I understand the appeal of Center City, where time and money can be spent before and after games," said Joan Marniman, a Spring Garden resident. "But it is important to consider at what cost." A Broad and Spring Garden site has been up for debate before. Last year, it was Rendell's favored location, but community outrage and disgust stalled those plans as they were debated into oblivion. The stadium plans were tabled last November when City Council ran out of time, and for the past several months the Street administration has been trying to bring them swiftly to a decision. Street has promised to decide on a location by June 30, with legislation following in September. University President Judith Rodin was also present at the meeting to protect Penn's interests in the ongoing debate. The postal lands at 30th and Walnut streets have been considered on and off for some time. Rodin said building a stadium at that location would ruin Penn's plans to build a high technology corridor in the space. Besides the postal lands, several other locations on the outskirts of Center City were considered by the committee, including Port Richmond and the city incinerator at Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden. But the committee ultimately decided on a more central location.Comments powered by Disqus
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