Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
December 3, 2004
Legislature Recesses Without Passing Growing Greener II
In a letter sent to the Governor on July 4, when the General Assembly broke for summer recess, House and Senate leaders committed to enacting Growing Greener II legislation before the end of the two-year 2003-04 legislative session. Signed by Sen. David "Chip" Brightbilland Rep. Sam Smith, the letter stated: "We believe that by working together we can enact legislation this fall that would put an environmental bond issue before the voters at the Spring 2005 primary election." Unfortunately, that has not happened.
With much work still to be done, the legislature recessed in the early morning hours Nov. 21 without passing this important initiative to support local watershed groups, economic redevelopment of abandoned polluted properties, remediation of abandoned mine lands and farmland preservation, and improve the overall quality of life in Pennsylvania. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Daily News| November 29, 2004
Go west for a new waterfront
By John J. Dougherty
Philadelphia's waterfront represents the city's most promising future economic development opportunity.
As a board member of the Penn's Landing Corp. and Commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority, I was not upset when the Simon Group abandoned its plans to develop an enclosed mall at Penn's Landing and pulled out of the city altogether. A mall was never the right option.
The best use of Philadelphia's waterfront is an open design, with green space, public art, scenic walking and biking paths, and easy access to the river. My waterfront vision includes a mixture of residential and commercial properties, but with height restrictions so as not to block
sightlines to the river. I also envision a waterfront that is an extension of Center City, not an isoIated destination. A tram connecting us to the Camden waterfront also makes sense. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Inquirer | November 23, 2004
Environmentalists see mixed results
The legislature passed energy and water measures. But Growing Greener II failed to move.
By Amy Worden and Tom Avril
HARRISBURG - When the dust settles from the end-of-the-session bill-passing frenzy, environnental groups said yesterday, they believe that the legislatirre's action on some issues - and inaction on others - will mean mixed results for the state's environment.
Sailing through the legislature were an energy bill hailed as a landmark for requiring utilities to buy some of their electricity from alternative-energy sources and a controversial measure to provide funding to rebuild and repair aging sewer and water systems.
But Gov. Rendell's proposed Growing Greener II program was not acted on. The $800 million program was designed to provide dedicated funding for hazardous waste cleanup and watershed improvements and expand open space and farmland protection. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Daily News | November 19, 2004
Growing greener - and smarter
By Michael DiBerardinis
The environment and the economy have rarely traveled together on the same path. Gains in the economy come at the sacrifice ofthe environment. Protection of our natural resources hamstrings business development. Or so the argument goes.
But what if by protecting special lands, cleaning up environmental problems and growing responsibly, we actually increase jobs, stop population migration and revitalize our communities?
A plan exists to do just that. Growing Greener II, an initiative proposed by Gov. Rendell in February, links the conservation of the state's natural resources to an integrated strategy to stimulate economic growth and create vibrant communities. This environmental initiative gets to the heart of how to improve our quality of life. It places the environment and the economy on the same path to progress. But the proposal now languishes with only days left on the legislative calendar. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Inquirer - Posted on November 12, 2004
Leaders tout 'Growing Greener II'
The initiative to preserve open space and clean up pollution has stalled. It got local backing last night.
Frederick Cusick INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
State and city leaders last night endorsed Gov. Rendell's proposed $800 million environmental bond issue, which has gotten bogged down in a fight with Republican legislative leaders over how the money is to be raised.
Speaking before an audience of about 160 at the Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 hall on Columbus Boulevard, Michael DiBerardinis, Rendell's secretary of Conservation and Natural Resources, called the bond issue the "most exciting initiative around the environment anywhere in the country." "This is big stuff," he said. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Inquirer | November 12, 2004
School Naming Rights
Why stop at names? Go whole hog!
The Philadelphia School District thinks it can score $5 million by selling off the naming rights to a new public high school it is building in West Philadelphia.
Hey, why stop there?
Once you get the hang of auctioning your values to the highest bidder, it's addictive. Who knows how lucrative it might become? The woods are full of marketers eager to get their paws on the next generation of consumers as soon as they can.
No money to increase teacher pay? Not a problem. Just let educators market themselves to advertisers, keeping the fees they'd earn for plastering their shirts and sweaters with corporate logos just like a NASCAR driver or golf pro.
Today's health lesson brought to you by Fruit Gushers, kids. Today's Spanish exercise: Pretend you're a customer in a Taco Bell, and order a gordita. Today's lab experiment is sponsored by Dow Chemical. (And no one will mind, will they, if the good people from Dow get to edit that textbook chapter on the Vietnam War just a little bit?) READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Inquirer | November 11, 2004
West Phila. high school's name is up for sale
For $5 million, bidders can brand the Microsoft school set to open in 2006. Single rooms go for less.
By Susan Snyder
Philadelphia's new high school being built in partnership with Microsoft Corp. has attracted worldwide attention for its anticipated technological feats, but will it attract lucrative bidders interested in naming it?
The Philadelphia School District intends to find out.
For $5 million, the district plans to sell naming rights for the school, which is scheduled to open in September 2006 in West Philadelphia near the zoo, said Ellen Savitz, the district's chief development officer. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Inquirer | November 11, 2004
2 bids to run Fairmount eatery
The Fairmount Park Commission consider two restaurateurs' bids for Water Works site.
By Stephan Salisbury
The Fairmount Park Commission is considering two possible operators of a restaurant for the landmark Failmount Water Works on the Schuylkill beneath the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Representatives of both groups said at a commission meeting yesterday that they were sensitive to the Water Works' status as a certified local and national landmark. Both said they could establish dining in the 1812 Engine House without tampering with or altering itsstructure. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Inquirer | November 11, 2004
PA Environmental Initiative
Growing Greener II is ripe for action
Southeastern Pennsylvania understands too well the twin problems of rapid suburban growth and inner-ring decay.
That's why suburban residents have voted repeatedly to tax themselves to preserve open space and clean up abandoned industrial lots. They know attractive landscapes are vital to Pennsylvania's economic future.
It's time legislators in Harrisburg realized that, too. READ MORE . . .
Northeast Times | November 5, 2004
Fox Chase expansion debate is growing
By Elizabeth Stieber
Some of Nancy Ostroff s earliest childhood memories are of playing in the shade of Burholme Park's many trees.
Joe Santos brings his daughters to the playground there.
Bob Grady can show you the bench in the park where he proposed marriage to his wife.
While the three residents agree that the expansion of its other neighbor, the Fox Chase Cancer Center, would greatly benefit patients and research, they don't want it at the expense of their beloved Burholme Park. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Daily News | November 5, 2004
Calder garden just start of Parkway makeover
By Michael Hinkelman
IMAGINE happy throngs of Philadelphians ice skating near Eakins Oval this winter. It's an idea that's actually being contemplated - and just one of the signs of progress in the ongoing effort to bring people to the city's signature strip.
The Fairmount Park Commission is closer to a new deal for a restaurant for the Fairmount Waterworks. City Hall, at the base of the Parkway, is getting dramatic new lighting.
And just yesterday, a new sculpture garden displaying 10 black, metallic sculptures by celebrated local artist Alexander "Sandy" Calder, who died in 1976, was unveiled on the site of the proposed Calder Museum at 22nd Street and the Parkway.
The garden is the second phase of a $5 million, 12-year program funded by Pew Charitable Trusts to display Calder's works on the Parkway. READ MORE . . .
Philadelphia Inquirer - Posted on June 1, 2004
Putting the spark back in city's parks
Communities take charge to restore facilities.
Julie Stoiber INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Gold Star Park in South Philadelphia was a shining example of just one thing when Aileen Bunch moved in nearby four years ago: neglect.
The grass was littered with broken glass and dog dirt. Unsavory types who hung there at night shot out the lights. Now, climbing roses, luminous red, are in full, fragrant bloom. Flyers posted in the park herald a recent tree-planting celebration.
"The change has been astounding," Bunch said.
The reason: Neighbors took charge. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Inquirer - Posted June 1, 2004
Seeking a park's spark
Central Park once was a mess. Now it's a gem. It may provide answers for Fairmount Park.
Miriam Hill INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The lush green carpet of Central Park's Great Lawn offers no clue today that not long ago it was a wasteland better known as "the Great Dustbowl." A three-year restoration, completed in 1998, was the crowning achievement in a decades-long transformation of the park.
Now, the Fairmount Park Commission, preparing to release a strategic plan that will set its course for the next 10 years, is looking to Central Park to see what it can learn from the most frequently visited city park in the United States.
READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on Fri, Nov. 21, 2003
ABOLISH THE FAIRMOUNT PARK COMMISSION
PARK AND THE CITY DESERVE BETTER
WHO WOULD make a better Fairmount Park commissioner? Thomas Carter, executive assistant to Gov. Rendell? Or Albert Chernoff? Carter, or Barbara Capozzi? Carter, or Steven Tilney? Or Carlos Peraza? Or Agnes Daly? Or Kelly Tillery?
Don't know? Well, don't worry, the Board of Judges which voted yesterday to appoint Thomas Carter the new Fairmount Park commissioner probably didn't know much more than you about who is more qualified. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted Thurs. Nov. 20, 2003
Guv and Brady back Ed aide for Park Commission post
By DAVE DAVIES
Gov. Rendell and city Democratic chairman U.S. Rep. Bob Brady are supporting a little-known aide to Rendell for an opening on the Fairmount Park Commission.
Common Pleas judges are to meet today to make the appointment.
Thomas Carter, an executive assistant in Rendell's Philadelphia office, also served in Rendell's mayoral administration and was known more for his role as mayoral amusement than for administration policy. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on November 7, 2003
SECRET VOTING BAD FOR PARKS
BOARD OF JUDGES SHOULD REMEMBER: PARKS ARE OURS
WE HATE to be the ones to break this news, but the sad truth is that as of 4 p.m. today, Fairmount Park does not belong to the people of Philadelphia.
Even though you pay for it through your tax dollars, and you might get to enjoy a few picnics on the grass - and even though last year a new day had dawned for the parks when the process of choosing new park commissioners went public - the Philadelphia Board of Judges of Common Pleas Court, which appoints the Fairmount Park Commission, would rather you mind your own business. They want you to let them determine the fate of the park in secret. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on September 12, 2003
THE BAD NEWS: Fairmount Park Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis has resigned, due to his new job heading the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The good news: his resignation confirms the fact that the commission has become more fluid and open to change than in the past, when commission appointments were considered lifelong entitlements. All that changed a year ago when six new members became park commissioners. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on August 18, 2003
ARE YOU PARK FRIEND OR FOE?
PARK ROBBERS AND DUMPERS MAKE US SICK
SOMETIMES, ESPECIALLY in a city like ours, people can make you sick. They'll make you sick at heart with their disregard for their fellow citizens, and sick to your stomach with the vile things they do to show that disregard.
Like stealing trees. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on December 19, 2002
A YEAR OF PROGRESS FOR PHILLY'S PARKS
NEW LEADERS BRING A NEW FOCUS, BUT BIG PROBLEMS REMAIN
A NATIONAL expert on urban parks uses a vivid image to describe how change happens.
It's like pumping a playground swing - not pushing off from the ground, but simply pumping your legs until the swing moves, says Peter Harnick, of the Trust for Public Land. At first, it's awkward and difficult, with progress nearly imperceptible. But keep at it and eventually you can reach great heights. Using that image, Fairmount Park started this year in that difficult, awkward stage. But at the end of 2002, it has achieved promising movement: a new (interim) director, a new commission, and money for the beginning of a desperately needed strategic plan.
There is, however, more work to be done. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Inquirer - Posted on August, 2, 2002
Fairmount Park gets fill-in director
Phillip R. Goldsmith previously was an interim schools leader. Attracting tourists is a key goal.
Nora Achrati INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Phillip R. Goldsmith, a leader who embraced change within the Philadelphia school system, is being asked to lead reforms for the heavily criticized Fairmount Park system, officials announced yesterday.
The Fairmount Park Commission asked 14-year Executive Director William E. Mifflin to step down this week. Goldsmith, who will assume Mifflin's duties Sept. 9, will lead operations during a search for a new director of the 8,900-acre park system. READ MORE. . .
Chestnut Hill Local - Posted on June 13, 2002
West. Mt. Airy's Bob Nix heads Fairmount Park Commission
by KATIE WORRALL
Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill are well represented on the newly-appointed Fairmount Park Commission. Among the 10 appointed members are Robert N. C. Nix III, who recently was elected the agency's president; Philip Price Jr., Leon Tucker and Debra Wolf Goldstein The commissioners were sworn in for five-year terms by City Solicitor Nelson Diaz.
"Nix will do a super job. He is very sensitive and outgoing," said Price, a Chestnut Hill resident who was endorsed for the commission by the Friends of Pastorius Park. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on June 4, 2002
NEW PARK COMMISSION ELECTS NIX PRESIDENT
DELAYS OTHER VOTES AFTER MASON OBJECTS
The new members on the Fairmount Park Commission got a warm welcome from the old guard yesterday, but a chill set in when it came time to elect new officers.
The commission, composed of 10 members elected by the Board of Judges for the Court of Common Pleas and six others who represent city officials and operating department heads, was to elect new officers. The election began after the six newcomers were sworn in by City Solicitor Nelson Diaz. The election of Robert N.C. Nix III, a 17-year commission veteran and the only nominee for president, was unanimous. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on June 3, 2002
MEET THE NEW PARK COMMISSIONERS
THEY MEET TODAY FOR THE FIRST TIME TO WORK ON FAIRMOUNT'S FUTURE
HISTORY IS made today: The newly reconstituted Fairmount Park Commission meets officially for the first time. So let's smash a symbolic champagne bottle against this new ship of state and wish them luck through the shoals of a needy, underfunded system.
Today is historic for another reason: It's the first time we've felt optimistic that the changes necessary to turn around our city's 8,900-acre jewel are in place. The 10 appointed members of the commission include an astonishing six new members (incumbents are marked with a star). What's surprising is how much they share: Almost all of them grew up in the city, and cited their early use of the parks as critical to their current passion for fixing them. READ MORE. . .
Friends of the Wissahickon Summer 2002 Newsletter
In a smoke-filled room earlier this spring some 70 people met in the late afternoon to decide the composition and fate of Fairmount Park Commission. These men and women were Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas Judges. What unfolded in the room was something new ? democracy at work. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted May 20, 2002
NEW DAY DAWNS FOR PARKS, AND IT LOOKS SUNNY
PROCESS AND FINAL PICKS BODE WELL FOR NEW PARK COMMISSION
AT LONG last, a new day has dawned for Fairmount Park.
Last Thursday, the Board of Judges voted for a new Fairmount Park Commission. In the process, they made history. For one thing, it was probably the longest vote ever taken by the judges: it took two hours and seven different runoff ballots to fill the 10 slots. And instead of rubber-stamping retention for all the incumbents, as in the past, the judges took nothing as a done deal. The result was the biggest changeover that the Park Commission has ever seen. So who won - besides you? READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on May 17, 2002
Park commission elected
Judges take 2 hours to sort out candidates
Daily News Staff Report
In a vote lasting nearly two hours and requiring seven run-off ballots, the Philadelphia Board of Judges yesterday elected a new Fairmount Park Commission.
The judges filled 10 seats on the commission, which carry five-year terms beginning in June. In past years, the voting has been little more than rubber-stamp approval of most incumbents. This year, only four incumbents will be returning. They are John K. Binswanger, James J. Bloom, Robert N.C. Nix 3rd, and Rosanne Pauciello. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on May 15, 2002
DiBerardinis has dramatic plans for park
During his eight years as Mayor Ed Rendell's recreation commissioner, Michael DiBerardinis turned broke-and-broken city parks, playgrounds and pools into the pride of their neighborhoods.
After decades of neglect that had brought the cash-poor rec department to its knees, this transformation was nothing less than an urban miracle. Now, DiBerardinis wants to work the same magic for long-suffering Fairmount Park. READ MORE. . .
The Legal Intelligencer - Posted on May 14, 2002
Base Elections on What's Best for the Park - Not Politics
One of the unusual responsibilities vested in the Board of Judges of Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas is authority over the stewardship of Philadelphia's Fairmount Park system. Every five years the members of the board of judges vote to appoint 10 of the 16 Fairmount Park Commissioners. The other six are city officials who serve ex officio, such as the mayor and president of City Council. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on April 26, 2002
TREES DON'T VOTE . . . BUT YOU CAN, FOR PARKS
VEIL IS LIFTED ON FAIRMOUNT PARK COMISSION SELECTION FOR ALL TO SEE
THE WONDERFUL civic Web site, hallwatch.org, has established a "faxbank" to make it easy for Philadelphians to contact the people who will bring you the next Fairmount Park Commission.
You write an e-mail, hit a button, and your comments are faxed to Mayor Street, City Council and the Common Pleas Court judges who will vote May 16 on five-year terms for 10 commissioners. This is a unique moment in the history of Philadelphia's parks: Judge Rosalyn K. Robinson, who chairs the judges' nominating committee, yesterday released the names of 43 people who have applied for those 10 slots: eight incumbents and 35 other candidates. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on April 24, 2002
Coalition pushes park candidates
Friends of Philadelphia Parks backs 7 for Fairmount Park Commission
By EARNI YOUNG | Staff writer Mark McDonald contributed to this report.
Fairmount Park Commissioners usually are selected without much say or notice from the public. Not this time.
"This is a new day for Philadelphia parks," Beth Ounsfield, president of Friends of Philadelphia Parks, said yesterday in announcing a slate of seven nominees the coalition is endorsing for seats on the park's governing board. In an unprecedented move, the coalition of 21 park groups, submitted its list of endorsements to the Board of Judges for the Court of Common Pleas, which will vote May 16.
While the Friends of the Park and their endorsed candidates rallied in the Park across from Boathouse Row, city officials were discussing funding for a long-term strategic plan for the 9,800-acre park system. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Inquirer - Posted April 24, 2002
A public race for park posts
Six are running for seats on the Fairmount Park Commission. The process had long been private.
Christopher K. Hepp INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
As elections go, the selection of Fairmount Park commissioners is typically a rather quiet affair. So much so that the public rarely even knows who is in the running.
Yesterday, a coalition of park advocates said it was time to change that tradition. With the city struggling to maintain its vast and varied park system, the coalition, led by the Friends of Philadelphia Parks, promoted six candidates for the commission, including former City Recreation Commissioner Michael DiBerardinis and Joseph M. Manko, an environmental lawyer who serves as director of the Lower Merion Conservancy.
The six candidates were trotted out beneath the Lincoln statue on Kelly Drive, for all the world - or least a number of commuters - to see. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on March 27, 2002
A BETTER COMMISSION FOR A BETTER PARK
FAIRMOUNT PARK NEEDS NEW LEADERSHIP
HERE'S A WAY TO GET IT
THE ONLY sounds we ever hear about the process of appointing the Fairmount Park Commission are the howls of complaint when it's over.
That's going to change. As our editorial series, "Acres of Neglect," revealed last year, this is a critical time for the future of Philadelphia's fading, 9,800-acre treasure. Now more than ever, the park needs the visionary leadership it rarely has enjoyed.
So the 10 appointments to the commission to be voted on May 16 by the Common Pleas Court Board of Judges (the six other members serve by virtue of their city offices) could not be more important. Which is why the process can't play out as it has in the past: done in secret and lacking in accountability. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on February 22, 2002
Park fans want stronger leaders
'Friends' lobby for commissioners who are more aggressive, insightful
It's time for stronger leadership at the Fairmount Park Commission, a coalition of porters urged yesterday.
In a rally, leaders of the Friends of Philadelphia Parks offered a list of qualifications they want the Common Pleas Court Board of Judges to use in selecting new appointees to the commission that guides the 9,800-acre park system. The FPP also called for the city to develop a strategic plan for the city's parks and open spaces, including those run by the Recreation Department. READ MORE. . .
Philadelphia Daily News - Posted on May 24, 2001
NEGLECTING PARKS IS A PHILA. TRADITION
DESPITE OBVIOUS BENEFITS TO CITY, POLS ARE APATHETIC AT BEST
NO WONDER the city has gotten so good at neglecting its parks: it's had 30 years of practice.
A look at the budget trends for Fairmount Park since 1970 is a bit like looking over the flat Nebraska plains: In 1970, the budget was $11 million. In 1984, it was $11 million. In 1990, it was $11 million.
Forget adjusting for inflation. In fact, translating 1970's budget into 2001 dollars would mean the parks should be getting $50 million today. Instead, the budget for 2001 has inched up to. . .$13 million. READ MORE. . .