Parks and Recreation holds hearing over Temple’s proposed boathouse

The Commission of Parks and Recreation held a public hearing on Boathouse Row Wednesday night discussing Temple’s proposal to build its own boathouse.

At Lloyd Hall gymnasium in a hearing that lasted more than two hours, dozens of members of the public spoke to the 14-person commission arguing for and against the proposal.

Temple is trying to acquire a half-acre plot of land to build a new boathouse on Kelly Drive, south of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge and north of the East Park Canoe House, Temple’s rowing home until it was condemned in 2008.

ABI REIMOLD TTN FILE PHOTO | Tents have been utilized for Temple crew teams in lieu of a boathouse.

The university submitted an analysis to the city in October 2012 arguing for the public good of the boathouse that had to undergo a period of 30 days of public comment before Wednesday’s meeting reviewing the proposal.

Proponents of the new boathouse argued in favor of giving the student-athletes, who have been forced to share space in a tent, a home to call their own, as well as the public interest in beautifying an otherwise unused piece of land.

Opponents of the proposal say that Temple hasn’t fulfilled all the requirements of a city ordinance passed last year, requiring any entity seeking to transfer ownership of public parkland to give back an equal plot of land to the city.

Temple included in its proposal a pledge to donate $1.5 million to renovating the East Park Canoe House to fulfill that requirement.

Members of the public say that donating money to restoring a building cannot be translated to the prerequisite of substitute land.

Considering the arguments, the Commission will present its official recommendation to City Council, which has the power of approval, on March 9.

For a full story on the hearing, check back with