Members of the Uptown Entertainment and Development Corporation, a registered community organization headquartered on Broad Street near Dauphin, unanimously opposed the university’s Alpha Center project in a letter to City Council on March 20. Another RCO, the Temple Area Property Association, in the jurisdiction approved the project.
The Alpha Center is an initiative led by the College of Education to add services to the North Philadelphia community to meet a “critical need,” Dean Gregory Anderson told The Temple News. The plans for the proposed 70,000-square-foot facility on Diamond Street near 13th include an early childhood center for 130 children, a dental clinic and counseling services.
The Uptown Entertainment and Development Corporation RCO opposed the project, citing concerns that the Alpha Center will only be used to negotiate with North Philadelphia residents to get them to approve the proposed on-campus football stadium. The group also argued the new center would negatively impact existing early childhood centers in the neighborhood by drawing children away from their enrollment.
We disagree with residents in the Uptown Entertainment and Development Corporation RCO who oppose the creation of services for Philadelphia’s children.
The benefits of the proposed facility could be two-fold: our peers at the College of Education could receive meaningful, hands-on training by working there, and North Philadelphia residents could utilize the Alpha Center for childcare, as well as dental and counseling services.
Contrary to the beliefs of the RCO members, the Alpha Center and on-campus stadium are unrelated. The Alpha Center was thought up by the College of Education specifically, while high-level university administrators are behind the stadium proposal.
We hope city officials, along with members of the RCO, can separate this project from other ongoing proposals at the university. With the proposed Alpha Center, North Philadelphia residents could receive important services, and students could give back to the neighborhood where they live and learn. We’d hate to see this opportunity go to waste.