Last week, The Temple News reported on the findings of the university’s neighborhood relations task force that was commissioned in September 2011. The report outlined 22 strategies within five recommendation areas that could improve Temple’s relationship with the community.
An area that the task force neglected to tackle was the issue of rampant development off Main Campus and the problems the constant construction causes to Temple’s immediate neighbors.
Last Wednesday, Oct. 10, one day after The Temple News reported on the task force’s findings, City Controller Alan Butkovitz released a report detailing the violations developers in North Philadelphia have committed in the area surrounding Main Campus. As Cindy Stansbury reports on Page 1, Butkovitz outlined the failures of five Philadelphia departments in regulating construction in the area.
While these are private developers that Temple doesn’t have control of, the Community and Student Off Campus Issues and Concerns Task Force should have better addressed the issues of off-campus development and how it affects the residents of North Philadelphia.
Temple is a magnet for students. The developers fill the housing void for those who seek to spend their college years near Main Campus. The university should use its prominence and position to be a voice of a reason.
The attitudes and practices of the developers who provide the off-campus housing that students move into should be taken into account. These landlords and construction teams need to have the same respect for the community that Temple preaches to its students.
The Temple News reached out to landlords near Temple and applauds Mark Zwick, the president of the Temple Area Property Association and Nick Pizzola, the association’s vice president, for agreeing with aspects of the report and expressing their willingness to work with the city to fix the problem. However, landlords like Peter Crawford of TAPA, who told The Temple News that the report does a disservice to the city’s inspectors, are still in denial of the issues.
Landlords like this need a reality check into the problems flooding the streets of North Philadelphia.