I want to take issue with two cavalier statements made in this editorial [“Dissing Orientation,” Nov. 6, on a student organization’s appraisal of Temple’s history]. The first statement I would like to address says: “Still, it is lazy and disingenuous to suggest Temple has thrown people out of their homes.”
Yes, there were at least 7,000 people, and probably more, evicted from where they called home as a direct result of the efforts of Temple. Their addresses were completely obliterated to the point this editorial board probably doesn’t even know some of these street names existed in this area.
Also, Temple has nothing to do with the regeneration of Progress Plaza. The board of Progress Investments Associates is redeveloping the plaza on their own. That is one reason it took so long to get to this point. Please don’t continue to perpetrate misinformation just because a previous employee of the university [former Community Relations Director Tom Anderson] decided 30-some years ago to make a private investment and is a member of the board as a private investor today.
Temple’s part will come into play once the redevelopment is complete and the retailers are in full operation. Temple students, of course, will influence the sustainability of the plaza with their patronage. Therefore, Temple’s “helping” Progress Plaza at this stage needs to be recanted by this editorial board.
Also, I applaud the intent behind the organization of the Progressive Student Coalition to make demands of Temple on behalf of the community, although Temple has a fair share of community involvement with the neighborhoods surrounding the university. If the PSC identifies what is being done already, through the process of elimination, they can then see what still needs to be advocated on behalf of the community.
It would be a good thing for the PSC to include attendance to community meetings on the east side of Broad Street to let the community-at-large know what the coalition is trying to do. That is where you will find more members organized and who are familiar with the history of Temple vs. North Philadelphia.
Check our community resource www.yorktowncommunity.org for a wealth of information and history on the area.
Pam Pendleton-Smith is a fifty-year resident of North Philadelphia. She now lives in Yorktown, where she sits on the Community Stakeholders’ Committee.