The editorial "The park's close call" on May 30 aptly noted that the dissolution of the Fairmount Park Commission has created risks. When we lost the Park Commission, we lost a layer of public participation and the veto power of an independent commission that had preserved dedicated parkland for more than 100 years. The Parks and Recreation Commission is an advisory group wielding no such power. Politics and deep-pocketed developers often prevail in City Council despite well-crafted land-use policies.
It is frightening to realize that the future of the park may depend on the ability of advocacy groups to protect it. This must change. During these challenging economic times, there will be a growing temptation to sell off parkland. Thankfully, the court system remains as an overseer and can prohibit the sale of active parkland. But the public should not have to go to court because a few politicians view parkland as a disposable asset. SCRUB will vigorously pursue its mission to protect public spaces all over Philadelphia and the region through education, advocacy, and legal action. Let's hope that our public servants will do likewise.