Morning Headlines: Velodrome Developers Meet Opponents During Wednesday Presentation

Will another NIMBY battle ensue?

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Developers behind the proposed $100 million velodrome project at FDR Park had their first presentation before the Parks and Recreation Commission yesterday, reports Inga Saffron. According to her, the meeting was packed with over 150 attendees, some of who were not there to voice their support:

Although the velodrome developers have promised to make significant park improvements to mitigate the arena’s impact, several neighborhood residents expressed skepticism about the benefits of another large facility in South Philadelphia. The velodrome would be located across from the sports complex and a few blocks from the site of a newly approved casino on Packer Avenue.

“This is the elephant in the room. We are already impacted so severely,” argued Anna Maria Vona, who uses the park for morning walks. “I’m tired of outsiders coming into our community.”

Philip J. Senechal, one of the project’s backers, tried to ameliorate these worries by emphasizing the velodrome’s community-focused amenities, one of which would include free racing and leadership training to lower-income children by Cadence Youth Cycling:

“If you have a facility like this, you’ll have thousands of kids graduating high school and going off to college,” promised Ryan Oelkers, a cofounder of Cadence.

Saffron writes that the commission did not make a decision on the project, which may only go ahead if the “art and historical commissions, the National Park Service, and state agencies” give the okay, during Wednesday’s meeting.

Backers, foes sound off at meeting over planned velodrome [Inquirer]

Meanwhile, in other news…

Groundbreaking event marks ceremonial start of $22m PHA project in Germantown [NewsWorks]

Community garden or housing? Meeting Thursday on the fate of the Wiota Street Garden [West Philly Local]

DVRPC authorizes study for capping I-95, gets funding for bike trails from William Penn [PlanPhilly]

Pa. authorizes grants for Ardmore Cricket Lot, train station projects [Main Line Times]