Written by: Kathryn Stellato
It’s a difficult decision, when there is no right answer to a question that impacts thousands. There has been that kind of question hanging over Temple University’s head since last semester– should Temple build a stadium?
For many, this question is very black or white: yes, we should build the stadium or no, we shouldn’t. For others, it is a grey area where both sides of the situation can be seen. Ultimately, a decision will be made on the discussion of should there be a stadium built, but for now it is a heavily debated topic that has faculty, students and surrounding community members talking.
Personally, I think it is a terrible idea. Temple doesn’t need a stadium when there is already a perfectly good one we can use. All the issues that have been brought up concerning the possible Temple stadium are the same issues that were brought up when Veterans Stadium was taken down and Lincoln Financial Field, commonly referred to as the “Linc”, went up. The residents of South Philadelphia near the stadiums have consistently complained about the noise, the trash and the people. That is exactly what would happen up here. There has to be some sort of agreement that the Linc and Temple can come to so that those issues don’t follow us to the northeast.
However, I am not that person making this call; the Temple University Board of Trustees is. Looking at the situation, in the event that the Linc doesn’t budge on how much it is charging for rent, there really isn’t a place to build a stadium that isn’t Geasey Field. There is no way that the stadium would be built over at the Ambler Campus because people wouldn’t go. While the Linc is accessible by public transportation, Ambler would take more effort. Ambler also does not give the city experience that the Linc does. As Temple University President Neil Theobald told students Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, at the open forum held by Temple Student Government (TSG), the area would fit the stadium complex Temple would build.
At the same time, the area surrounding Geasey Field is largely residential. The surrounding community would be impacted by a stadium as an interruption to their daily lives, bringing bright lights, noise and trash, largely commercial aspects to a residential area. As pointed out on Monday by a community member who attended the forum, tailgating and children don’t mix very well. Temple students on and off campus encourage tailgating, and so the likelihood that children would be appearing at tailgates is inevitable. There are already parties in the houses rented out by Temple students, leaving the residents to deal with trash and other not family-friendly happenings. The presence of a stadium in the area would just add to this.
Ultimately, I think the stadium is going to be built. Temple is becoming known for their football program. Especially after this year, which included a number of achievements including ESPN’s Game Day, where the team excelled. This is something that has been in the works for years, since before President Theobald got here. However, I think that if students want their voices to be heard about why they don’t want the stadium being built, they need to take a more active role than complaining on social media. Actually go to the people who decide. TSG Student Body President Ryan Rinaldi has nothing to do with the stadium. He didn’t wake up one morning, become an architect major, draw the plans for the future stadium, go to President Theobald with a spare $100 million that TSG doesn’t have and then offer to build the school a stadium. Just like the rest of us, Rinaldi found out a stadium could be built and tried to help students get the answers by holding a forum with President Theobald and Temple’s Athletic Director Pat Kraft. Rinaldi is going to be gone by the time a stadium would even be built, so stop calling him a racist on Twitter and go to the people who are actually making that decision. Go to a Board of Trustees meeting and talk to them.
I genuinely hope that an agreement between the Linc and Temple can occur. Building a stadium at Geasey Field would further distance Temple from the surrounding community, a community that Temple students have already been known to treat poorly. Adding to it with a giant stadium won’t help. The forum that TSG held with President Theobald and Dr. Kraft did answer some questions that needed to be answered. I like knowing that Temple students won’t be paying for the stadium in a tuition hike and that the park on 16th Street will stay where it is. However, there are better ways to spend that money instead of building a stadium and furthering an already less than ideal relationship with the members of a community that has been here long before Temple.
This is a decision that will impact thousands of people. I just hope the Board of Trustees will consider all the sides of the situation before making a decision that will affect so many.