As East Falls gears for perhaps our biggest debate in a decade, Queen Street newsman Brian Hickey reviews some history, and what’s likely going down at Gustine Tuesday night. EARLY RECAP by Chris McCabe, video to follow.
6-29-16 UPDATE: Great turnout last night! Scroll down to COMMENTS for an attendee’s thoughtful report as we work on a full recap with links & images.
Let the countdown begin! Last week, playground advocate Joyce Brady created the “Fallsers for McMichael Playground” Facebook group, whose members quickly arranged to provide childcare, to make it easier for parents with small children to attend.
The pro-playgrounders have also been busy tightening up their presentation for Curtis Jones & Commissioner Lovell, while continuing to lobby for neighborhood support — the current count of online & paper signatures is close to 1000, sources say.
Neighbors near the park, however, have been quite vocally oppositional.
Back in 2006 when McMichael last faced a playground proposal, things got pretty ugly.
In a blog post late Monday, PhillyVoice writer (and East Falls local) Brian Hickey suggested we’re bracing for another “community battle” — one that divides residents into two passionate camps: those who feel McMichael could be more use to the community, and those who like it just fine as it is, thank you.
Despite “strong feelings” anticipated, this meeting is not intended to produce any sort of decision for or against a McMichael playground. For Curtis Jones, the meeting is about “productive dialog in which both sides will be able to present their case.”
Both sides have 15 minutes to present to Councilman Jones and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. A coin flip will decide who goes first, then, a 45-minute *moderated* Q&A will follow during which neighbors can chime in and be heard.
Best of all: cameras allowed! We’ll be recording, of course, and encourage anyone concerned about civil discourse to do the same.
Let’s all get down to Gustine Rec Center for this meeting Tuesday night. The more input we give Curtis Jones & PPR, the better McMichael can serve our whole community. Hope to see you there.
DON’T JUST SIT THERE — SIGN SOMETHING!
Petition to SAY YES to a natural playground.
Petition to SAY NO to a playground here.