Inquirer staff writer Jef Shields reports:

Today should be a watershed day in the fate of Fox Chase Cancer Center's planned expansion into neighboring Burholme Park.

Neighbors of the 69-acre park in the Northeast are seeking to block Fox Chase's purchase of 19 acres as part of its $800 million to $1 billion, 25-year expansion plan. Philadelphia Orphans Court Judge John W. Herron is scheduled to rule on whether the deal violates the 1895 will of Robert Waln Ryerss, whose bequest of his estate created Burholme Park.

City Council approved the deal earlier this year, agreeing to pay $8.25 million over the course of development, as well as $4 million to establish other parkland in the 10th Councilmanic District. District Councilman Brian J. O'Neill backs the plan, as does Mayor Nutter, saying it's a worthwhile sacrifice given Fox Chase's international role as a cancer hospital and research center. Judge Herron must decide whether the city, the Fairmount Parks Commission and Fox Chase acted in good faith in making the decision.

Herron's decision is expected to be appealed by the losing side. 

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