Mayor Nutter Signs Ordinance to Amend Approval Process for the Transfer of Public Park Land to Non-Park or Recreation Use

Commission on Parks and Recreation to review all transfer proposals and 
City Council to identify substitute land for park use

Philadelphia, April 15, 2011 – Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed Bill #110002, which establishes a review process of all requests for City-owned land park land to be transferred for a non park-recreation use. This ordinance, which amends Chapter 15-100 of the Philadelphia Code, will ensure a thoughtful review of any proposed conveyance or transfer of park land.

In addition, the new ordinance requires the City’s Commission on Parks & Recreation to conduct an alternative analysis identifying substitute park land that would replace the transferred land, should the transfer request be approved

Once the Commission reviews City Council’s analysis, it will provide recommendations to City Council and the Mayor. City Council will hold a public hearing on the transfer request and consider the Commission’s recommendation before approving or denying the request.

This new predictable and transparent assessment process will protect community resources that improve the health and well-being of residents. In July, 2009, Mayor Nutter asked the newly formed Commission on Parks & Recreation to submit proposed legislation that would improve protections for City-owned park land. Council Blondell Reynolds-Brown and Councilman Brian O’Neill introduced Bill #110002 to City Council, which passed it with a 17-0 vote.

“We want to ensure that all requests to transfer publicly-owned park land undergo a fair and collaborative review process so residents continue to have access to valuable recreational opportunities,” said Mayor Nutter. “Through this new ordinance, I’ll work with City Council to consider alternative land use options to replace transferred park land so we can provide the same level of public access to green space.”

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown said, “This ordinance represents another milestone in our collective efforts to protect park and recreation land on behalf of the people of Philadelphia. “The Commission on Parks and Recreation put a tremendous amount of work into this effort and I was proud to lead the charge in City Council to make its vision a reality”.

Nancy Goldenberg, Chairman of the Commission on Parks & Recreation said, “This is a significant accomplishment not only for the Commission but for the citizens of Philadelphia. We now have a consistent and transparent process to foster the protection of our parks and recreational land.”

On November 4, 2008, a voter-approved amendment to the Philadelphia Home Rule Charter established the Commission on Parks and Recreation. In addition, the Fairmount Park Commission (FPC) and the Recreation Department were combined to establish the Department of Parks and Recreation. The goal of the newly established Commission and the merger of the FPC and the Department of Recreation, was to create a more public, transparent, and accountable management of Philadelphia’s parks and recreation facilities. To read the ordinance, visit legislation.phila.gov/mattersearch/home.aspx

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