In de­fense of Philly: Columnist got it all wrong

The Southern Berks News - - OPINION - Demo­crat Ed Ren­dell is the for­mer two-term mayor of Philadelphia and for­mer two-term gover­nor of Penn­syl­va­nia.

I’m writ­ing to re­spond to Chris Freind’s opin­ion col­umn, “Why Philly Will Al­ways Be a Sec­ond-Class City.”

I don’t know Mr. Freind and he is en­ti­tled to his opin­ion, but it is based on sev­eral er­ro­neous pre­sump­tions that I feel obliged to cor­rect.

He be­gins by talk­ing about the city’s pop­u­la­tion loss but he fails to note that in the past decade, Philadelphia has ex­pe­ri­enced a fairly ro­bust pop­u­la­tion in­crease, re­vers­ing a decades-long trend.

Some peo­ple may be leav­ing the city but far more, in­clud­ing mil­len­ni­als and emp­tynesters, are choos­ing to live in it.

Sec­ond, he lists cer­tain prob­lems that he sees with Philadelphia.

Although it is true that Philadelphia, like al­most ev­ery big city in Amer­ica (see Chicago) has prob­lems with crime, homelessness, graf­fiti, trash, poverty, etc. in his list, he puts forth that Philadelphia has “a dearth of greenspace.” That is sim­ply not true. I don’t know if Mr. Freind is aware, but Fair­mount Park is the largest ur­ban park sys­tem in Amer­ica (10 times the size of Cen­tral Park in NYC) and the vast ma­jor­ity of the park is stun­ningly beau­ti­ful.

Next, he at­tacks the for­mer Philadelphia Navy Yard and says, “it sits un­used, just an­other dream float­ing away while the com­pe­ti­tion gets it right.”

From this state­ment, I can only as­sume that Mr. Freind has not been to the Philadelphia Navy Ship Yard (now called the Philadelphia Naval Busi­ness Park) in about 10 years.

If he had vis­ited it, he would have found what the Navy has called the most suc­cess­ful eco­nomic turn­around of a mil­i­tary based closed by the BRAC Com­mis­sion in the na­tion.

The busi­ness cen­ter has brand new ho­tels, beau­ti­ful new of­fice build­ings, great restau­rants, beau­ti­fully land­scaped lawns, and a thrilling com­mer­cial ship yard.

It is a great suc­cess story and it be­fud­dles me how Mr. Freind could’ve missed it.

Mr. Freind con­cludes by say­ing that the city’s rep­u­ta­tion is “one with vir­tu­ally no prom­ise of a re­nais­sance-like turn­around.” Again, it is be­fud­dling to un­der­stand what he bases this on be­cause in the last few years, Philadelphia has been named:

• The only World Her­itage City in the U.S.

• The host city for the Pope’s visit

• The host city for the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion.

• The host city for the NFL Draft.

• “The 20 Hap­pi­est Cities To Work In Right Now,” Forbes. com.

• “The 19 global cities with the best eco­nomic po­ten­tial,” Busi­ness In­sider

• “The Top 10 Most Bike­able Down­towns,” Redfin (Cen­ter City West is #1)

• “Best Places to Travel in 2017,” Travel + Leisure

• “What’s the Most Beau­ti­ful City in Amer­ica?,” Bud­get Travel Just to name a few. Again, Philadelphia still has its chal­lenges and they are sig­nif­i­cant, but it is a city that has ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant turn­around and re­vival in the past 25 years.

It is a great suc­cess story, but some­times peo­ple can­not see the for­est through the trees.

And Fair­mount Park has a lot of trees.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.