For the next year, maybe five, the powers-that-be at Temple University who comprise the Board of Trustees can bang their collective heads against a wall or get to work.
Banging their heads would constitute essentially what they are doing now: Trying to make peace with people who want no peace.
Neville Chamberlain tried to do that with the Nazis in the late 1930s. When the British finally figured out the Nazis did not want peace, it was almost too late. Winston Churchill finally unraveled that mess.
Temple wants peace with its neighbors and a stadium entirely within property it owns. Because a part of that property is a public street, the neighbors can block it so Temple must abandon this folly and figure out a place and a way to build its stadium or look for the alternatives.
Here are the acceptable ones:
Move the stadium to Broad and Master. This would require knocking down a brand new $22 million Olympic sports facility and moving it back to Broad and Norris. That probably means spending another $22 million on the Olympic facility but it would be worth it. Critics of this plan say “it won’t fit” but that’s only if the fields are North-South. Anyone who attended the spring game saw plenty of room for an double-decker East-West stadium from Broad Street to 13th Street that would require no closure of a city street.
Connect the main campus with Temple Hospital. Put the stadium halfway up Broad Street. There is plenty of open land that Temple can acquire near the North Broad SEPTA train stop that would allow for more parking. Just take a ride North of main campus (lock the doors) and you will see boarded-up property, not actual homes, along the old route that included the Phillies first home (Baker Bowl, Broad and Lehigh). Can’t imagine the neighbors would object to Temple purchasing homes that currently are unoccupied and boarded up. It would be within walking distance of both the main campus and the health sciences center and just as accessible to rail and subway transportation as the current plan. Again, no public streets would have to be closed.
Swallow hard and accept Jeffrey Lurie’s demands. Any way you look at it, Temple is going to spend a lot of money parking its football program. Either it’s the laughably low figure of $130 million for a stadium or increase its rent five-fold to the Philadelphia Eagles for the right to play in one of the nicest stadiums in major college football.
Wait The Phillies Out. This is not as crazy as it seems. Extend the lease and work with the city and the Phillies to get their long-sought-after Center City stadium. Then slide into Citizens Bank Park. Play at the Linc until then. A 45K Temple football stadium in South Philly makes more sense than a 70K Temple stadium in South Philly or even a 35K Temple stadium in Templetown.
Unacceptable would be a move to Ambler or an upgrade of the Chester stadium (farther away than the Linc and less accessible to public transportation) or any deal with Franklin Field, which would be seen as a return to the bad old days.
Either way, if this last-ditch “community engagement” does not work, the BOT needs to roll up its sleeves and come up with a new plan.
Banging heads against a wall for the next five years serves no purpose to anyone.