Pumping The Brakes Means A Left Turn

A week ago, the guy who holds the hammer in this whole Temple Stadium controversy wrote an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer to express his feelings on the project.

If you read the entire thing, he’s against it, essentially saying Temple should “pump the brakes” on a new campus stadium.

The guy is Darrell Clarke. The way politics works in Philadelphia is that the councilman in any district has veto power over a project in his district.

Clarke is not only the Philadelphia City Council President, he is the councilman in that very district. He can afford to tell Temple University to pump the brakes on the project. Temple University cannot afford to wait due to the timeline of its lease with Lincoln Financial Field running out in 2020.

The “community” is vigorously against this project. It’s not 50-50. It’s not even 80-20. It’s more like 90-10. This is not a similar case to what is now the Liacouras Center when palms needed to be greased in order to move the project forward. There simply is not enough oil here to move the gears.


Darrell Clarke would rather Geasey Field remain an empty lot than a beautiful new stadium

If Clarke says “pumps the brakes” Temple should then recognize what intersection it is approaching and make a left turn.

It appears as though the City of Philadelphia, which really holds the hammer here, will never give Temple the permissions to close 15th Street forever (between Norris and Montgomery) to appease the residents who vote for Clarke in every election. Without 15th closed, there is only one other open space on the Main Campus large enough to build what Temple needs.

The left turn Temple needs to make is at 15th and Montgomery, make a right at Broad Street and travel a couple of blocks south to Masters to build the stadium. The city has no grounds to oppose a football stadium at The Temple Sports Complex since two stadiums have been existing there without opposition for two years and no closure of any street would be necessary. Even if the City would try to block a stadium at that site, Temple–with the most graduates of any school in Pennsylvania appeals courts–probably would prevail on the argument that it was allowed to build dorms and classrooms on its property and should be able to build a needed “multi-purpose” facility there as well.

If not, you can forget about a new stadium at best and Temple football at worst. If Temple football is forced to return to that dump called Franklin Field, the program is doomed. Chester’s 18,500-soccer stadium is a far worse option. If the Phillies ever exit Citizens Bank Park, that would be ideal but that appears to be at least 20 years down the road that is called Broad Street.

The uni would have to do something it said it cannot do—pay the Philadelphia Eagles a $3 million a year lease to rent Lincoln Financial Field on top of a one-time “stadium improvement fee” of $12 million.

Of course, this can all be avoided if the BOT would change plans and build the stadium at The Temple Sports Complex.

On first glance, building a football stadium over a brand new $22 million Olympic Sports Complex would be an admission by Temple that it made a mistake building that facility there and they would not do that.

There is a precedence, though. A few  years earlier, the same board of trustees spent $12 million less to build an Olympic sports complex in Ambler that included also baseball and softball and abandoned it for the Broad and Masters facility.

If they can do that then, they can do this now. The Olympic sports teams can be moved back to Geasey Field.

Running out of time and options,  it is the logical thing to do and, in this political climate, the sooner the better.

Monday: Above The Line


13 thoughts on “Pumping The Brakes Means A Left Turn

  1. Agree with your assessment. Dead as a door nail. Plan B is to put the pressure on the Eagles/Lurie about the fees. Step one is to verify the terms of the Pitt Heinz Field agreement. If duplicating it would improve the situation, shift political direction that way. Shame Bob Brady has stepped down. He’d fix it overnight.

    Also would be interesting to develop what promoters pay to use the Linc for concerts and soccer games and compare. If that info shows a large difference, maybe some of the law school grads get involved.

    Plan C is still Citizens Bank Park. Scheduling constraints though due to effect of football on the playing surface. Might have to limit home games in Sep and Oct to allow time between dates for field to recover. And may not be enough lead time to work around Phils schedule considering there’s barely a year notice. Half of the home games would have to be played in November. Not a fun thought.

    • Agree that the Broad and Masters is the best option. Connie Mack built the “Spite Wall,” and he’s in the hall of fame.

  2. Mike, would you and John and everyone please explain in detail why Franklin Field is such a bad option, such a “dump?” It seats more then the soccer stadium (closer to Temple’s attendance numbers), is a better location (closer than the Linc for students). And frankly, if no one has been able to sit on Lurie to date, why would anyone think that can even happen? Your arguements for moving the ocs to the new olympic sports site despite the loss of funds is the best option. After all, Temple has a history of wasting millions because of bad decisions. Heck, renovating the old Temple stadium off Cheltenham Ave. would have been a viable option, tho not on campus. but that was thrown away too. And really, are 90% of the neighbors REALLY against it? I would guess most of them don’t really care one way or another – but who knows?.

    • Not Mike or John but returning to Franklin Field after 15 years of arguably the most beautiful stadium in G5 college football would be seen as a huge comedown for both the base and the casual Temple fans and certainly erode what is a fragile fan base as is. Mix in terrible tailgating with throwing a huge transportation obstacle to the 12,500 students living on campus (at least the Linc is a straight shot 15 minutes down on the BSL) and no television control on Saturdays (a big reason why the Big East kicked the Owls out) and FF becomes a zero option.

  3. While Franklin Field has many good seats, including those on the second deck between the 30-yard lines, which in my opinion are some of the best places to watch a football game, the rest of the stadium stinks. There are too few bathrooms, concessions are antiquated, and parking is abysmal. Also, it’s no good for the Owls as a permanent solution because the Owls can’t guarantee when they play. Re the old Temple stadium, I was of the opinion in the late seventies that it was a mistake to move permanently to the Vet. The stadium was a great place to play and there was room to expand the seating and build modern facilities. On the other hand, I remember hearing even back then that the neighbors hated the stadium and I believe that plans to enlarge and improve the facility would have resulted in protest.

    • The ideal thing in 1974 or whenever it was … pack Temple stadium in a few trucks, prefab it and move it to Geasey. For some reason, I don’t think the Social Justice Warriors would have opposed it then with the same kind of fervor they do now.

  4. No Philly has no real leadership.

  5. I recall Neil Theobald mentioned a plan that included Penn being explored. Does anyone know about the Penn Plan? Could Franklin Field be upgraded? Could there be an agreement to give Temple priority to accommodate TV and AAC schedules at FF? Could Temple tailgaters handle FF?

    • The Penn plan was Temple partnering with Penn to upgrade FF. Penn laughed at that plan. Penn doesn’t need Temple’s money. It’s got plenty of its own.

    • Penn’s endowment is tens of times bigger than TU’s is. It’s not about money and it is about money, Penn’s monied elite stature and TU’s pedestrian status in the eyes of those Ivy League snobs.They would never ever cede even one scintilla of control of Franklin Field. And even though a 35 thousand new, joint facility would be better for Penn football because they barely get 15 thousand to their games, that will never happen. They could build a hundred of them with the money they have.

  6. Actually, I asked about FF only to be used temporarily in case Temple bows out of the LINC and needs more time to build their own if it’s gonna happen – didn’t mean permanently. MOVE it to the 3-sport field site, swallow the loss and get on with it for gosh sakes. Or would the city squash that too even tho it’s within the campus and wouldn’t need to close a city street? It’s amazing that Temple has such a hard time with everyone outside the school – what’s up with that?

    • City really only has legal grounds to squash Temple’s bid at 15th and Norris citing only it can approve permanent closure of a city street. Temple should be able to build on the Broad and Masters site over both community and city objections, stating it was able to build a high-rise tower only a half-block away without approvals and should be able to build whatever it wants on its own property. That would stand up in court.

  7. Well Mike, if 15th street is the only real hurdle, then as I said, move the damn site and get on with it. Why is that so hard to understand for the Temple brain trust?
    So what if they’ve spent money on part of the plans for the present site proposal. Plans for big projects often get changed. The stadium itself and even the retail plans could pretty much stay the same. Seems that security might be lessened on a site within the campus too. NO-brain(er) is taking on a new meaning, seems to me.

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