When I hear the plans surrounding the proposed stadium at Broad and Norris, all I can think of are the words of the great Martin Luther King Jr.
“I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.”
If this thing ever gets built, I can pretty much say I will not get there with you and, while you never know about these things, I don’t plan going anywhere for the next 20 years.
You can blame it all on Chinatown.
The city of Philadelphia had its heart set on a center city baseball stadium at 12th and Callowhill and Chinatown not only held up the project, but tabled it. That stadium later became Citizens Bank Park. Pittsburgh got the stadium with the great center city view, PNB Park, while Phillies fans get a similar view of the skyline only now through binoculars.
I have no doubt Temple’s administration is committed to building this. I do have serious doubts that the Indiana imports running Temple know what they are up against. Once the unions, city council and the community put up their dukes, I don’t think they have the stomach for this fight. What gets built easily in Bloomington, is built in Philadelphia only after extreme extortion–all legal, of course.
Philadelphia is the ultimate Provincial town—the only place where “not in my neighborhood” means not in any neighborhood. Ever wonder why every stadium is built in South Philadelphia? The reason is that there is an artificial barrier between the South Philadelphia neighborhood and the stadium called I-76. No such barrier exists in Center City or North Philadelphia.
Knowing Philadelphia as I do, the so-called community will hold up this project just like it held up the Liacouras Center project. It should have taken no longer than two years to build the LC—then called The Apollo of Temple—but it was held up for a dozen years by the two Mayors, mostly John Street, the City Council, and the community.
Temple has a recent history of backing down from blowback from “the community” and the example that comes to mind is ads in the Temple subway stop. All the ads said “Temple” and, when the community demanded the ads be taken down, the university relented and took the signs down. They have been since replaced with “Draft Kings” ads. So far, no demonstrations demanding the Draft Kings ads be taken down. Don’t expect any.
The community’s disdain for Temple runs deep, and the blowback on this stadium will make an Oklahoma F5 Tornado look like a gentle breeze. Even the folks in Chinatown figure to be impressed.
That’s why I won’t get to this mountaintop with you. Maybe only the very youngest of our readers ever will.