By Mary Cunningham

Temple’s ongoing effort to construct a new 35,000-seat football stadium on campus hit a huge hurdle this week:

City Council President Darrell L. Clarke, in whose 5th district Temple sits, wrote an op-ed in the Inky urging Temple to address the missteps it has made with the North Philadelphia community before moving forward with its stadium campaign:  

Mistrust in university leadership has reached the point where it is now hurting worthy projects that we have been working on since before the stadium debacle. The Temple College of Education’s planned 95,000-square-foot community center will offer pre-K, health services, and workforce training to surrounding residents. It is a “community school” partnership that precedes the Kenney Administration, and it pains me deeply to see it come under attack because of its association with the university.

I urge university leadership to put the brakes on its stadium campaign and address this crisis of confidence within the community. The special services district now being proposed would have been welcomed in 2012, and every year before and every year since. If Temple is serious about its commitment to North Philadelphia, new community investments should be offered without any strings attached. There is still time to rectify past missteps in building strong relations with near residents, and that – not a stadium – should now be the university’s priority.