Opposition to a new Temple Owls stadium is gathering momentum, leaving questions as to whether the proposal will move forward.
Temple University has been pitching a new 35,000-seat stadium on the northwest corner of its campus. In February, the university’s board of trustees helped bring the proposal closer to fruition by taking several steps, including bringing on a designer, tearing down apartments that sat within the stadium’s footprint, and approveing a feasibility study.
At the time, it was clear that the proposal was generating objections from students and nearby residents, who cited issues such as traffic, noise, and criticized the overall investment in the facility. That dissent has not slowed down and, that this point, the school does not have a timeline in place for presenting the proposal to the Philadelphia City Council.
The school maintains that building a stadium makes sense, because it will create a more favorable geographical and financial scenario than the team’s current home, Lincoln Financial Field. Rent for the NFL facility is set to raise to $3 million–triple the current rate–by 2018, and the school feels that the finances of a new stadium make better sense. However, opposition to the project continues, and for right now shows no signs of slowing down. More from the AP:
But when talk of a new stadium began, pushback was immediate. The Stadium Stompers, a group of student and community activists, capped off a series of protests earlier this year by presenting Temple’s then-president, Neil Theobald, with an award for “Best Gentrifier.”
Temple occupies a large swath of impoverished North Philadelphia, and the largely black population has long been concerned about being shoved out by rising rents and an expanding university footprint.
The student population living near campus has more than doubled in the past decade, and a May report by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that median home sale prices near the proposed stadium site have spiked tenfold in 13 years, from $11,250 to $140,000.
Temple has tried to soothe concerns by stressing the potential benefits of a stadium, including new jobs and retail outlets.
But residents remain unconvinced. The Stompers are planning more protests, with ideas ranging from blocking the homecoming parade to sculpting and stomping a mini-stadium.