August 1, 2002
PHILADELPHIA is taking another important step along the trail leading to the transformation of Fairmount Park. Bill Mifflin, Fairmount Park's dedicated but increasingly ineffective executive director, is leaving for an undefined city job. Phil Goldsmith - who served as interim CEO of the public school system until the state takeover earlier this year - will become the interim head of the park staff while a national search for a new executive director...
December 19, 2002
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)
December 23, 2002 |
FAIRMOUNT PARK has a rich history with many important milestones. March 26, 1867, for example, marked the passage of the first Fairmount Park Act, officially recommitting the land on both sides of the Schuylkill to public use and creating the Fairmount Park Commission. On May 10, 1876, tens of thousands of Americans traveled to Philadelphia and stood in front of Memorial Hall to witness President Grant kick off the nation's centennial celebration. Perhaps Dec. 12, 2002, will also be remembered as the kick-off date when Philadelphia began a strategic planning process that will fully engage the public in serious discussion about its vision for its park system.
April 14, 2005 |
Gov. Rendell signed legislation yesterday asking voters to authorize the largest investment in environmental programs in Pennsylvania history. The $625 million bond, to be placed on the May 17 primary ballot, would pay for a significant expansion of the state's landmark Growing Greener program, which supports a wide range of environmental cleanup projects and land protection. "What we are doing is doubling the impact of the Growing Greener program at a time when we need to improve the environment," Rendell said before signing the bill in a bipartisan ceremony at the Capitol.
July 13, 2005 |
Much has been in the news lately about changes in Fairmount Park's leadership and concern over funding shortfalls. At a time when park management is considering how best to move forward, there are positive initiatives in the private sector that are quietly improving the state of Philadelphia's premier park system. Growing the Neighborhood is one such initiative. Now in its second season, this public/private venture was created to help improve the city's extensive network of neighborhood parks, many of which are historic, some more than a century old. Nationwide, the health of urban parks has become a yardstick of a city's economic vitality.
March 7, 2003 |
With a little maneuvering on Wall Street and some fine-tuning of regulations, New Jersey should have $500 million to buy hundreds of thousands of acres of open space while it's still available, Gov. McGreevey said yesterday. Good thing, too. The state Green Acres fund, which buys land for parks, is almost out of money. To get people - specifically farmers - to sell their land or development rights to the state, McGreevey will seek legislative approval of an income-tax break, he said.
December 16, 1997 |
Many of the estimated 300 structures in Fairmount Park are in sad shape. Park statues need repair, tennis courts lack nets, picnic tables are in pieces, ballfields are often overused and under-maintained. But what worries park managers most are the deteriorating conditions and ultimate fate of the "wild" areas - the woods, wetlands and meadows that make up three-quarters of the 8,900-acre park system. Experts say rushing water, disappearing plants and voracious deer are destroying the woods.
July 20, 1998 |
A local homeowners' group is trying to save open-space funds from a fast-approaching deadline that will send the $1.4 million back to Montgomery County. Last week, the Norristown Homeowners Association submitted a request to the borough's Planning Department asking it to acquire undeveloped land near the Noblewood subdivision on Thomas Barone Street through the county's open-space grant program. In 1995, the county gave $1.6 million to the borough for several recommended acquisitions.
June 15, 1994 |
Anyone viewing Philadelphia objectively must be struck by the stark contrasts of its real charm and beauty side-by-side with equal amounts of depressing ugliness, decay and filth. Nothing illustrates the disparity better than the Schuylkill. Entering the city, it flows through one of America's most beautiful urban parks. Its waters attract fisherman, rowers, boaters. Its banks teem with picnickers, joggers, cyclists and lovers. But as the river flows past the Philadelphia Museum of Art into Center City to its confluence with the Delaware, it's a totally different body of water.
October 18, 1990
It seems that more than just driving a motor vehicle is forbidden these days along Forbidden Drive, the pastoral, eight-mile trail that hugs the Wissahickon Creek along its run through Fairmount Park. The onslaught of large numbers of all-terrain bicyclists threatens to force off the trail anyone who wants to walk, jog and, certainly, canter atop a skittish horse - at least, anyone who wants to pursue these more gentle modes of travel in safety. The death in September of a 49-year-old horsewoman whose mount was spooked by a group of cyclists doing their Magnificent Seven imitation (they were riding seven-abreast)