City to discuss skateboarders, historic mansion

Posted: September 25, 2012

HERE'S WHAT will be making news in Philadelphia this week:

CITY HALL

Skater troubles

Considering skateboarding over a city memorial?

Think again. City Council this week is considering legislation to toughen the rules and hike the penalties for skateboarding on public property.

On Tuesday, a Council committee will hear legislation introduced by Councilman David Oh on behalf of the administration that would clarify the city ban on skateboarding on public property to include public art and memorials. The legislation would also increase fines from $300 to $2,000.

Over the summer, two skateboarders were arrested and charged with causing more than $3,000 in damage to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

DEVELOPMENT

U. City mansion discussion planned

On Thursday, residents, preservationists and others are gathering to discuss the history of the neighborhood around 40th and Pine streets in University City, an intersection that's at the center of a dispute over whether to allow the demolition of a historic mansion there.

The presentation will begin at 8 p.m. at the Spruce Hill Christian School at 42nd and Baltimore Avenue.

Members of the Woodland Terrace Homeowners Association are appealing the Philadelphia Historical Commission's decision to allow the demolition of the mansion, believed to have been designed by Samuel Sloan, a Philadelphia architect born in 1815 who is believed to have helped design Eastern State Penitentiary. The University of Pennsylvania, which owns the mansion, wants to tear it down and bring in a developer to build apartments in the space.

Sloan also designed many of the homes on Woodland Terrace. The area was one of the first suburban developments, begun in the 1850s. The homes were set back from the street and built with gardens, yards and porches.

"Researchers and historians have used this neighborhood to study early suburban development because few, if any others, like it exist, not just in the region, but in the entire country," said preservationist Matt Grubel.

- Catherine Lucey

and Valerie Russ

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