UPDATE MARCH 2015: The Philadelphia Commission on Parks and Recreation has decided AGAINST supporting Project 250 in FDR Park, citing the project’s failure to meet the standards of Philadelphia’s Land Protection Ordinance. Thank you to those who have voiced opposition to the construction of a private arena in this historic public park! CLICK HERE to read their determination, which is advisory to Mayor Nutter and City Council.
A group of private investors known as Project 250 has proposed the construction of a $100 million, 6,000-seat velodrome and event venue in FDR Park, the historic Olmsted Brothers-designed landscape that the Philadelphia Historical Commission designated a local historic district in 2000. Construction of the facility would radically alter the appearance of the park’s eastern edge, requiring the rerouting of the park’s loop drive, the removal of dozens of mature trees, and the loss of more that 4 acres of public open space. Many local residents, environmentalists, and the Philadelphia Parks Alliance are questioning the feasibility and legality of the proposal, citing more appropriate locations for a private development of this scale and nature. Velodrome supporters contend that the site’s visibility from the Sports Complex and I-95 are crucial to the corporate naming rights helping to fund the project, further troubling public space advocates. The plan is currently being reviewed by the Philadelphia Commission on Parks and Recreation; it also requires the approval of numerous other local bodies, including the Philadelphia Historical Commission. The Preservation Alliance contends that the project as proposed would severely compromise the integrity of the FDR Park Historic District and should be redirected to a more appropriate site elsewhere in the city. CLICK HERE to read our letter of opposition submitted to the Commission on Parks and Recreation.
Public comments on the Project 250 plan should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org by March 1, 2015.
Media coverage of Project 250
- “Developers may try again for OK on $120 million cycling track in Philly’s FDR Park,” March 12, 2015
- “Parks & Rec Commission rejects $100 million velodrome project in FDR Park,” Philadelphia Magazine, March 11, 2015
- “Presentation for proposed Velodrome at FDR Park leaves big questions unanswered,” PlanPhilly, Dec. 18, 2014
- “Is proposed velodrome just another public-land grab?” Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 13, 2014