After months of discussion, an accord has finally been reached for how to refurbish of JFK Plaza. According to the Inquirer’s Troy Graham, Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell Clarke signed a document “that outlines their ‘shared vision’” for the park. Compromise from both parties is evident in the new plan, which includes information about what would be retained, what would be added, and how it would all be funded.
To avoid dipping into the city’s reserves, the renovation project would funded by the sale of the garage beneath the plaza, and Liberty Property Trust would offer free planning and design services.
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Today the Daily News’ Jenny DeHuff takes up the question of Darrell Clarke’s … intriguing plans for LOVE Park. As Property author Sandy Smith noted when Clarke first proposed putting restaurants in the park to generate revenue, “We should take Clarke’s proposed design as the start of a path to a new and livelier LOVE Park, not as its final form…it could stand some refinement.
DeHuff notes that Smith isn’t alone in that assessment:
“Critics of the proposal agree that revenue-generating is necessary for the city to pay its bills, but not by way of building up what’s intended to be open space, something already lacking in Center City.”
Indeed, a park-land ordinance from 2011 requires that developers who build on existing open space replace it with equivalent open space elsewhere. (This ordinance is what stymied Temple University’s boathouse proposal, now a moot point anyway.) In this case, any new commercial developments at LOVE Park would have to undergo state and federal review.
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