Valerie Russ of the Daily News has been tracking the efforts of Fox Chase Cancer Center to expand into Burholme Park. [Click here to read more on the issue.] Russ filled in PhillyClout about today's court ruling:
Within an hour after a Philadelphia judge said the city could not give part of Burholme Park to the Fox Chase Cancer Center for its $1 billion expansion plan, the cancer center announced it would appeal the decision. In a 61-page decision handed down this morning, Judge John W. Herron said that public parks are protected by a common law rule of law, known as the public trust doctrine, that has been part of Pennsylvania law since the early 1900s.
That public trust doctrine "protects every square foot" of the land Robert Waln Ryerss donated to the city to be used as Burholme Park, the decision said. "Simply stated, so long as a community or neighborhood actively uses dedicated park land, the city is required to hold such land in trust for their use..."
The cancer center wanted an 80-year lease to expand over a 20-year period by constructing "as many as 18 large buildings between 4 and 9 stories high through the very center of the lush park, uprooting old growth trees, destroying vital recreational areas and irrevocably altering the unique character of this singularly beautiful park land and open space," Herron wrote.