TEMPLE University last week said that it will stop pursuing plans to build a new 23,000-square-foot boathouse on the east bank of the Schuylkill. The university ran into problems because those plans came in direct conflict with a city ordinance to protect open space. That law prohibits acquiring public land without offering a replacement parcel of parkland in return, which Temple didn't do.
Of course, in a city with tens of thousands of parcels of vacant land, some might find it ironic to have a law designed to protect open space. But that law is critical to the long-term preservation of public park space - it prevents city leaders from selling off to the highest bidder land that belongs to the people of the city.