Fiasco at Mitten Hall


The community asked for answers and responded this way

For today’s social experiment, we ask you to depart the Temple campus–on foot, not vehicle–and proceed to walk East of, say, 9th and Berks for five blocks.

Now walk West of 17th Street on Norris and complete a similar five-block trip to 22d and Norris.


“Temple should pack it up, move to the suburbs, and leave a hole in the ground and a statue of the Mayor and the Council president holding hands.” _ John Chaney, on the opposition to building what is now the LC


That is what the heart of North Philadelphia would look like without Temple University. That’s pretty much life in a lot of inner cities in America. It’s not the fault of the people who live in them, certainly. In Philadelphia, what the neighborhood looks like surrounding Temple is certainly not Temple’s fault.

The community has legitimate concerns about the new stadium Temple wants to build entirely on Temple property and ask the questions they need to and get their answers. In fact, Temple has pretty much hit on all of the key bullet points–no one will be displaced, the Amos Recreation Center will stay right where it is and the stadium would be available for community events.

Yet the session they asked for turned out to be a Mitten Hall Fiasco. I left work and made it in time to see a group of clergy urging their congregation to listen and the congregation having none of it.

The “stadium stompers” asked for the town hall in the guise of a question and answer session. They never allowed it to get to a Q and A, with loud shouts of “YOU LIE!!” that would not allow the event to continue. It was all a ruse. I would say there were more pro-stadium people in the house than anti-stadium but the pro-stadium people sat in what only could be described as polite silence mixed with nauseating disgust.

Why should other urban
universities located
in densely populated
residential neighborhoods,
like Georgia Tech in Atlanta
and Boston College
in Chestnut Hill, Mass.,
have stadiums on property
owned by them and Temple
not be allowed the same right?

Temple set only two ground rules for the meeting and it was no signs were allowed and that civility was expected.

One side broke both rules and ruined it for all sides.

Asking for a Q and A and not allowing questions or answers is the very definition of a ruse. This is pretty much the level of discourse in the U.S. today.

Why should other urban universities located in densely populated residential neighborhoods, like Georgia Tech in Atlanta and Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., have stadiums on property owned by them and Temple not be allowed the same right? The community did not protest when Temple built a library, a dorm, $30 million of new classrooms and even a $17 million football practice facility but basketball and football arenas somehow cross an imaginary line because they are hot-button issues. The irony of this is that libraries, dorms and classrooms have an impact on the community 350 or so days a year, while a football stadium impacts it only a maximum seven of the 365 days.


5th and Diamond

When the great John Chaney was asked what Temple should do in the face of similar opposition to the building of The Apollo (now the LC), he said, simply this: “Temple should pack it up, move to the suburbs, and leave a hole in the ground and a statue of the Mayor and the Council president holding hands.”

The administration should have followed his advice then. On Tuesday,  it tried to be a good neighbor, but neighborliness is a two-way street. Nobody can say Temple did not hold up its end of the bargain.

Monday: Spring (Practice) is in the Air

Wednesday: Our New Scheduling Buddies

Friday: The Greatest Cherry and White Ever

Monday 3/19: A Rock and A Hard Place

Wednesday (3/21): The Bullhorn Lady


23 thoughts on “Fiasco at Mitten Hall

  1. now Lurie can charge/rip-off Temple for whatever he wants.., no place to play other than the Linc..,

    Temple is forever f*%ked…, unlike any other in America…..

  2. Only 1 hope remains, that stupid turd of a Gov of Pa needs to get his ass in gear and push a solution at the state level for TUFB either vs Eagles or the N Philly extortion mobs.

    • Great synopsis of the situation. I was there to hear the pros and cons and the cons did not let the pros speak. I think Temple should now meet with the few leaders of that group who urged calmness and not have these large public forums anymore. They tried once and they saw what happened. They should now move the conversation with the community forward through talking to smaller groups, like smaller than five.

  3. “unlike any other in America” really states Temple’s delemma. Always fighting some unexplained up-hill battle(s). A perfect storm of various conditions that always work against them. It’s amazing Temple does as well as it does do, when you think about it……

  4. As I have said many times, I would like to know where these so-called neighbors live in relation to the new stadium. While there are houses on Norris Street between 15th and 16th Streets the residents of which who aren’t students might be affected, it’s hard to see how much of an effect the stadium would have on the those few residents other than on game day. As many have pointed out, without Temple, there would be no viable neighborhood there and instead of being lauded for keeping some semblance of peace and order, TU gets spit on and derided for trying to build something that will bring economic benefit to the neighborhood. I think that the stadium is just a symbol for those who hate the fact that the neighborhood has changed significantly over the last twenty years with the construction of new student housing, which was possible only because the houses previously there had to be torn down. Had the “neighbors” taken care of their properties, the neighborhood would not have changed, change which has benefitted the neighbors who stayed given that the 17th police district used to be one of the most crime-ridden in Philadelphia. Apart from that, the fascists who shut down a good-faith attempt to provide information should be ashamed of themselves. TU should push the stadium through just to spite those jerks. Finally, Lurie could end all of this with a reasonable deal. He is as bad as the neighbors who simply want a payday because he already makes a pretty penny from TU. The fact that no politician has become involved is also a travesty. That TU did not become involved in the building of the Linc was just another gaffe on a long list of gaffes TU has made, including turning down an invite to the Big East when the league was put together. Frankly, it may be time for TU just to drop big time sports because most people don’t care, including the students, who do not consistently show up at either football or basketball games.

  5. I don’t understand why the neighbors are so worried about “drunken tailgaters”. Do they realize that there are only 6 football games a year? Not only that, most of them are played at noon on Saturdays in broad daylight and the crowd is gone by 5:00 pm. I have never seen a bunch of people carrying on and acting out of control at a Temple tailgate. I could possibly see some students carrying on, but they already live on campus and can carry on every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night of the school year. I really hope Temple pushes this through now just to spite the neighbors. Good to see that the head of the zoning board is also a consultant for Temple, that tells me they will grease the right palms to get this pushed through.
    I also don’t understand why playing in the Philadelphia Union soccer stadium is not an option. It’s the perfect size and would come at a fraction of the cost of playing in the Linc. I understand it’s a little further from campus, but you already bus the students all the way down to the Linc, it’s nothing to hop on 95 and drive another 10-15 minutes south to Chester. I believe the Miami Hurricanes play like 45 minutes away from their campus, this would not even be that far. Even if it’s just to get out of the ridiculous cost of the Linc and bridge the gap until an on campus stadium can be built, I’d like to see this option at least discussed. If Lurie thinks they don’t have another option, he will just continue to hold Temple over the barrel.

    • Union stadium only holds 18,500 for soccer. Too small. for the Owls. In the 90’s MLS and TU formed an alliance to build a facility but like most things with the Owls, it never came to fruition.

      • I thought they were going to build it up to 30,000 though. They designed it so that they could eventually expand it. Maybe Temple could strike a deal and help make the expansion happen.

      • The expansion caveat rarely works. Build it to 30K and it will remain 30K. Build it to 35K and you won’t have a stadium that is obsolete the day it opens and then you can HOPE for a 45K expansion. My deal is build it way down into the ground but have at least two decks when opening (the upper deck not being higher than the row houses across the street) with an open end (preferably on the South End facing Center City) that can be filled in if the ticket demand warrants it. Somehow, I don’t see the ticket demand but 30K is ridiculously low.

      • Yeah Mike, I definitely agree that if Temple builds their own on campus it should be 35k at a bare minimum, but 40k would be much better. I’m talking about the soccer stadium for the Union. I remember reading that they built it for 18,500 but built it to be expanded and had plans to up it to the 28k-30k range at some point. I’m assuming the architects have been paid and the plans drawn up, they just have to get the construction crews in there. If Temple showed interest in also using the facility, maybe they could put that expansion on. It wouldn’t take years like this fight with the city and starting construction from the ground up. It’s not ideal, but it would be a better option than paying the Eagles a fortune or fighting with the city for who knows how long. I know it will never happen, but if the stadium deal isn’t done soon TU is going to be desperate for options.

        I also don’t understand why Temple needs to fight with the neighbors to build something on property that they already own. I don’t have to ask my neighbor’s permission to build a new shed in my back yard. Ultimately though, if Temple wants it built, it will get built. They’ll just have to grease a lot of palms and make some agreements behind closed doors, which is usually the only way these things ever get done.

        To be honest, I’m on the fence about the whole thing. I’m happy with playing in the Linc and enjoy the game experience there, but unhappy with the way the Eagles are gauging TU on the rent. An on campus stadium would be cool, but only if it’s done right. If the final product looks anything like these artist renditions, TU needs to either scrap the idea now, or go find another architecture firm. A glorified high school stadium built on-the-cheap won’t help with recruiting or look very good on TV.

    • Temple has to fight to build it because 15th Street will be closed for two blocks. That’s why Philly and the “neighbors” get a say in the matter. It the Stadium could be shoehorned onto the property without having to close 15th street, it likely would be a go at this point.

      • Should have never built the Aramark Star Complex at 15th and Montgomery. They would have been able to configure the stadium west of 15th onto that spot combined with Geasey Field. They are now between a rock and a hard place with not many options if the city becomes obstinate . At least, not cheap options. They could 1) extend the Linc deal; 2) Knock down the LC and configure it into a Carrier Dome facility (while playing hoops in McGonigle); 3) Move soccer and field hockey back to Geasey and build the stadium where the soccer/fh complex is now. Franklin Field and Chester and Camden are simply not options. You want to enliven your own campus and stadiums there would defeat that purpose. Wish something could be worked out with the Phillies for CBP. That would be the perfect size for Temple.

  6. I thought the same thing when they bought W. Penn high school that they were going to build the stadium there. That is a huge piece of property on which the stadium and some parking could have been built. Tu always does things halfway. Even when they built the BB arena I thought that it should have mimicked the Carrier Dome.

  7. Just curious Mike, but if neither Temple U nor the residents of the area surrounding the main campus are responsible for the poverty , crime and drugs in that neighborhood , then who is ?

    Like John Belli said, without Temple, there would be no viable neighborhood there. The main reason there is an economic development in N Philly, is because of Temple . If you have been to main campus recently, you would be amazed at the amount of development around the main campus, I’m talking about both on the private level or university level .

    So if the Stadium Stompers want to kill the stadium , in order to prevent gentrification and protect the identity of N Philly as a ” complete shithole ” let them.

    Just remember, eventually everybody wants something, So when the N Philly community comes knocking on the door of Sullivan Hall for a handout, I just hope whoever is president, smiles and says ” You remember when we wanted to build a stadium in our backyard. Well it’s nice to want ” Slam ??

    • I understand your point of view, George, but I think you also have to factor in that living in those houses in the 1940s and 1950s was a vibrant working middle class. The middle class has shrunk, moved to the burbs and now the people in those houses are impoverished and can’t get jobs. So, in that sense, not their fault. I also understand there are SOME people there who do not want jobs and are content to live off the teet of the government, but I can’t quantify those figures so I will give the community the benefit of the doubt.

      • What killed that vibrant neighborhood was the 1964 riots that resulted in the destruction of most of the minority owned businesses in North Philly around campus. TU had nothing to do with its destruction. Gangs controlled that neighborhood through the fifties and sixties and a law student was killed on the steps of the law school in 1973. Moreover, the “neighbors” are just looking for another handout and the perception they are trying to create that they are victims is just hogwash. Without TU they would have been gone years ago along with the entire neighborhood and with the recent development, the value of their homes has gone up ten and twenty times, windfalls none of them deserve and would not enjoy but for TU’s presence. They will be gone in any event in a decade because development is coming every day. There will be development from Center City to Diamond Street, from Broad to 24th Street and the neighbors will be and currently are powerless to stop it. Rising real estate taxes will force them to sell. Development has already passed Fairmount Avenue and is streaking north. Fact is that because they are powerless to stop the development going on, they have gone after the only visible target, namely TU and its desire to build a stadium. What a crock of BS.

  8. Dear Amazon, The inmates are in charge of the asylum, so scratch Philly off the list.

  9. If the stadium deal gets approved, the LINC contract ends and Temple needs a TEMPORARY place to play for just a season or 2 while construction is going on, seems that Franklin Field would be a very good option. Big enough, much easier to get to and closer than the Union soccer stadium and a little “thumb your nose” at Lurie since the Eagles used played there, albeit, a long time ago. Dejavu at least.
    I agree with JBelli, the neighbor thing is bordering on being a hoakes. Sure, there’s a lot of anger but misplaced feelings more than anything practical, to say nothing of the inevitable future of dvelopment taking place that Temple has little if anything to do with. I’ve said before it’s Temple’s property, they’re trying to accomodate the neighbors, but it’s the 15th Street close-off that’s the real monkey wrench. As others have said, if only someone could sit on Lurie and get a decent deal for Temple, this whole mess could be settled.That’s the most frustrating part of all this, neighbors aside.

  10. Sue the city for land where Temple can build without community opposition. The city subsidized all Philadelphia pro franchises owned by billionaires with millionaire players and coaches. They do nothing to help starving students and athletes.

  11. Just on tonight’s news . Man shot 6 times tonight @ 18th & Oxford.

    Sure glad the Stadium Stompers want to keep this as the identity of N Philly.


  12. I’ve been on this forum suggesting CBP for a year or so. But with the recent free agent signing, I don’t see the Phils anticipating an idle building in October for a couple seasons. Hence they wouldn’t be that interested in college football ruining the field and affecting the pitcher’s mound until November. Not much help.

    Architecturally, the older stadiums like Franklin Field all had or have the columns to support the upper decks. While creating obstructed views for lower level patrons, the foot print required is much less. (After all, many of those old facilities were in neighborhoods and had to be shoehorned into a plot of ground defined by streets.) I wonder if architects using new techniques and materials can minimize the negative effect of columns? Think of the Texas Rangers stadium where there is such a section in the outfield.

    • CBP can only be a long-term option if the Phillies move to Center City. I think the Phillies stay in CBP at least for another decade but, if Atlanta can move from a stadium built roughly around the same time at CBP to free up Turner Field for Georgia State football, why can’t the Phils do the same for Temple? What I think probably happens is that the city rejects all attempts to close 15th Street and helps Temple get a better deal with Lurie. The city would see that as a compromise. Then, maybe 10-20 years from now, Temple slides into CBP. I’ll be dead then, unfortunately.

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