Why does our campaign believe a stadium at Edgely is a bad investment for Philadelphia?
Edgely is not the right place for a stadium, regardless of who uses it
Our campaign believes deeply in Council Member Jones’s vision for a track and turf football field stadium in district 4, as it would increase athletic opportunities for young people in Philadelphia, but Edgely presents a challenge due to location. The other sites considered, while presenting historical or engineering challenges, are more centralized and would ultimately provide more benefit to residents. Edgely is not convenient for kids to access via public transportation; kids going home at night would have to walk ¼ mile alongside the woods just to get the nearest bus route. There are no nearby schools, which is in stark contrast to all other sites considered. Foot traffic will be minimal as there are commercial areas in the vicinity and the residential community is small compared to other sites considered. Belmont Avenue is a notoriously unsafe road for both pedestrians and cyclists.
Building the proposed stadium at Edgely goes against Rebuild’s mission. Rebuild’s purpose is to repair and restore areas in need of rebuilding. This project is intended to improve a public space using public funding. Those funds should be used to repair something broken, to bring an underutilized space into use, not to pave over a large area of grassy fields that host hundreds of unique users every day for much of the year. Rebuild’s own site selection criteria factored in historical and engineering challenges but failed to consider usage and stewardship of the lands being considered for redevelopment.
Philadelphia desperately needs to increase its recreational capacity and this plan actively decreases it. Replacing four grass fields with one turf and one track is a net loss. By its mission, our campaign is dedicated to creating athletic opportunities for the Philadelphia area and the proposed stadium runs counter to this mission.
Edgely is home to multiple gender-diverse sports including: disc golf, Ultimate Frisbee, golf, and mountain biking.
PADA and Prior Cricket Club do not claim monopoly over Edgely. The current users of Edgely would love to partner with Parkside Saints, local schools, and other organizations in finding ways to share the existing green space at their beloved home, but building a stadium foregoes the opportunity for partnership
Edgely is a critical aspect of PADA’s mission of inclusivity of local youth.
Edgely plays a critical role in PADA’s expansive and diverse youth programming. PADA currently brings in over one thousand youths to play ultimate frisbee at Edgely each year, and financially supports local individuals and teams, waiving league fees for all Title I schools, PADA is a grassroots non profit that uses funds from its members (which are primarily earned through adult programming also held at Edgely) to subsidize these programs, making them affordable to all youth who want to participate. PADA’s efforts have brought local youths to camp for the first time as well as put them on planes to national tournaments. The loss of Edgely will end these programs. (Learn more about PADA's youth programming at our website, on Instagram, or on Twitter.)
Edgely is already home to a diverse and inclusive community. Over 10,000 ultimate frisbee players have called Edgely home, of ages 5-65 and coming from all corners of Philadelphia. Our volunteers have cultivated and used the fields for three generations, and have spent thousands of hours promoting youth and community engagement. Our DEI initiatives introduce kids from city schools to the sport, and we partner with national organizations to run clinics for young girls. Using Rebuild funds to build a football stadium on top of Edgely’s grass fields would hinder our ability to continue our initiatives.
The ability for local organizations like PADA to do community outreach is hindered by a stadium. Our campaign would love to establish a partnership with Council Member Jones but a stadium at Edgely removing two thirds of the contiguous grass space at Edgely precludes any potential partnership. Our community depends on this space (for reasons mentioned above) and will not survive in its current form without it. An actual partnership could involve things like: PADA running clinics at Edgely for local residents; ordering from local businesses; etc.
PADA's ongoing DEI initiatives would be hindered by the proposed stadium. In 2020, PADA created a Racial Equity Plan as part of their journey to become an anti-racist organization. A stadium constructed at Edgely would set back their ambitious efforts to continue engaging Philadelphia youth of color.
Edgely is unique as a contiguous green space in a city
The uniqueness of Edgely is that it is a large, flat, contiguous green space in the middle of a city. You can’t find this anywhere else. The adjacent clubhouse providing a kitchen, bathrooms, and meeting space makes it even further unique.
Edgely is one of the larger green spaces used year round in the city. Philadelphia, like many cities, struggles to balance the need for green space and continued development. Taking an oasis like Edgely and turning it into concrete and artificial turf stadium will destroy valued green space that is used by many people in a variety of ways that should be preserved not destroyed.
Tournaments would not be possible without seven fields at one location. At a typical frisbee tournament, teams finish playing one game and walk to a different field for their next game. Edgely is home to a dozen tournaments throughout the year, for divisions ranging from youth club teams, local middle and high schools, adult rec teams, and even the masters (minimum age requirements) division. These tournaments would not be possible without a seven-field facility like Edgely. We can bring thousands of people to Edgely who would otherwise not come.