Stadium Delay: Did You Expect Anything Else?

muchbetter

A much-more inspired rendering of what a TU stadium SHOULD look like.

All along in this never-ending Temple Stadium saga, there have been two types of people:

The first type, the believers, are the “wink wink, done deal” crowd, saying that everything is taken care of and nothing to worry about. Most of these people live in Virginia, New York and Florida.

The second group, the skeptics, are more intimately familiar with Philadelphia city politics, who have lived here all their lives and who have been through this whole thing once before with the building of The Apollo (now the Liacouras Center).

skyview

The site of the spring game

Those of you who have followed this space for years know to count me in the second group.

The Temple News deserves credit for breaking this story on Monday—really a lot of credit in that no other media outlet seems to care enough about—that Temple officials have decided to delay the project to “further engagement with the community.”

Did you really expect anything else?

From the time a BOT member told a long-time fan at the March 2012 NCAA Tournament (on the very day Temple beat North Carolina State) this was a “done deal” the stadium has been anything but a done deal.

badurban

The current uninspired rendering

The believers are more likely to claim to have inside information than the skeptics. As recently as May, we were told by those people to “expect shovels in the ground by August.”

Now it is much more likely that those shovels will be figurative ones burying the project than actual ones moving the AstroTurf off Geasey Field.

Here’s the bottom line on the stadium: The neighbors don’t want it and no amount of “engagement” is going to convince them otherwise. There is no political incentive for their representatives to do anything but oppose a project that includes the permanent closure of a city street where the city, not the university, has the final say.

Unlike the Apollo project in the 1980s, Peter J. Liacouras is not around anymore. When he threatened to move Temple out of the City of Philadelphia to Ambler, people believed him and then Mayor Ed Rendell brokered a deal to get the Apollo done. He had an outspoken ally and a respected community voice in then hoops coach John Chaney, who told them in no uncertain terms what their neighborhood would look like without Temple. Too much development on campus has happened since then to make a similar threat anything but an empty gesture.

This time, the city holds all of the cards, owns the card table and has a key to the basement where this game is played and there will be no dealing.

Friday: The Alternatives

10 thoughts on “Stadium Delay: Did You Expect Anything Else?

  1. Time to move on, or put it on the shelf until an opportunity arises for something the neighbors and politicians want to happen that the school controls. Then make the deal. If/when that happens, hope the admin at that moment is savvy enough to realize and horse trade.

    In the meantime, pressure needs to be applied to Lurie to rework the Linc deal or see if the Phils are interested. Perhaps schedule a November home game at CBP to see what a game there would be like for spectators. Being across the street, Eagles can’t help but notice. .

    If that test game shows it could work, time to negotiate.

    • Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. The current architectural design is only a little more impressive than the stadium at Northeast High. It seems to me they are rushing into this thing just to get Temple logos on the field. A great school like Temple deserves a distinctive stadium that makes it stand out in some (good) way from other new ones. The photo at the top of this post certainly is more reflective of that than the one in the middle. Plus, our stadium looks like a 30K one, not a 35K one. You can fit 45K into the same space with the two-deck design that surrounds the field, not the one-deck design that slopes back from it.

      • I’m no architect, but building on your suggestion, there’s the Levi Stadium design: One sideline a single deck with lots of private boxes and media space and the other side, decked seating.

        Recall Kyle Field (Tex A&M) has three decks on one side that are stacked vertically rather than sloping away. Nippert at Cincinnati similar, but with two decks. It sits smack in the middle of the campus, by the way. At one end the music/arts building looms above the rim of the structure.

  2. Can you name another Div 1 school in a similar situation? Successful navigation the political space is a pre-requisite for top tier standing both on and off the field.

    PSU, Pitt, and Temple in that order. Why? Because the people who give us money, the State Board of Education, wants to keep in that way.

    We need a governor who is Temple friendly.

    and, we need a political savvy school president, who enjoys the support of the aloof Temple Board of Trustees, to shake sh*& up, make sh$# happen, and get Temple out of this sh^%hole mess. Absent of the above, don’t expect much.

    • It’s a pipedream to fill the Linc. Of the 279,000 living alumni only 125K live within an hour of the Linc and, of those, I wouldn’t be surprised if less than 10 percent are college football fans. I was once “facebook friends” with a long-time critic of the Temple football program who is an all-time great Temple basketball player. He posts photos of he and his kids at every home Eagles’ game. In the last 10 years, I’ve only seen him at one (1) Temple football game and, at 6-foot-6, he’s hard to miss. (Homecoming 2015 was that game.)

  3. Notice story today that TU has pulled out of an agreement to be involved with the City Museum. Also the other week, the announcement of selling a couple hospitals. Could there be something underway by the administration to develop leverage with the city?

  4. Further engagement with the community involves a explanatory puppet show with Elmo and Big Bird, and Mr. Snuffleupagus with a hot dog launcher shooting foil-wrapped cash bribes to city council and community leaders.

    • I went to the March fiasco at Mitten Hall. Did not meet a single rocket scientist from the community nor someone who could pass the Astronaut test. This is what we are dealing with. I can’t imagine how frustrating this must be for the academia professionals at Temple.

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