FAQ

Are you wondering what's going on (and what's not going on) in the FDR Meadows? Are you wondering how you can engage? Who to call? How to stay updated? Read on!

What's happening in The Meadows!?

As you may know, the city plans to bulldoze over 200 acres of natural meadow/wetland in FDR Park in order to replace it with astroturf fields, tennis courts, and artificial wetlands. The FDR Meadows has become an accessible beacon of hope, healing, and relaxation for many residents of Philadelphia from all kinds of backgrounds throughout the pandemic. Not only has it had a profound impact on many community members, but it’s also a beacon of hope for the environment. It is a naturally restored wetland that helps manage flooding and pollution. It’s also home to biodiversity: tons of plants, trees, wildflowers, insects, animals, migratory birds, trees, etc. Why should we let the city bulldoze that? 

 

In response to the residents of Philadelphia expressing their disdain for the “FDR Park Master Plan” which would destroy this biodiverse environment, Parks & Recreation has offered many fallacies, and excuses— that 3000 people were surveyed in creating this plan, that these fields are needed for the youth of Philadelphia, that 50 acres of artificial wetland will be included, that this master plan will help manage flooding, that this new plan was designed to be ‘equitable' etc. HOWEVER:

 

The reality of this situation is that this is a $250 million capital project, which has been pitched as a potential practice spot for FIFA players. Companies stand to profit off of this environmental devastation. The reality is that both Parks & Recreation and the City of Philadelphia have not been transparent about their methods of community engagement— they offered none of the racial, linguistic, or economic Information from their data collection, (the data that was reported did not indicate a diverse sampling, among other flaws which can be found in the open letter linked below.) The reality is that, if the city were genuinely concerned with the condition of youth athletic facilities in Philadelphia, they would start by maintaining the ones that already exist, the ones that are shuttered or missing patches of grass, and the ones that are used on the daily by Philly youth!  The reality is that a 150-acre loss of natural meadow/wetland is devastating to the environment. The reality is that a naturally occurring wetland is better suited to manage flooding than any man-made system of flood management The reality is that a naturally occurring wetland is better suited to manage flooding than the artificial systems of flood management proposed in the plan. Building on a floodplain with artificial materials, plastic, and astroturf, while removing the present trees and foliage (which have deep water-absorbent roots that would no longer be there) is a recipe for disaster, calling into question whether these facilities will be operational in 10 years as water levels continue to rise globally. The reality is that environmental justice is economic justice.

 

We need to set new rules of engagement for the way that Philly handles the needs of its residents. It has failed to consider the needs of a diverse sampling of community members and is failing to protect not only those residents but also the environment as a whole. We need to preserve the last naturally restored indigenous green space in South Philadelphia, and we need to call for the reallocation of funds to the communities and spaces that need them. Protections and considerations should be offered to ALL Philadelphians, regardless of social background, immigration status, economic status, etc. We need land justice, environmental justice, and economic justice. We need a People's Plan for FDR Park!

In July, PP4FDR, its members, and  friends hosted community events that have helped to to share the meadows with Philadelphians and create a community dedicated to creating a plan that is more just, and would serve Philadelphians, and the environment.

How can I engage?

  1. Sign and share this change.org petition and the Penn Environment petition to document our disdain for this plan, and spread the word about the issue.

  2. Read the Open Letter, and consider signing on if you’re part of a community organization!

  3. Contact the folks at FDR Park, Parks & Rec, & your city council members!

  4. Reading these articles from WHYY and Grid Magazine to better understand the meadows.

  5. To stay updated and/or become more directly involved, you can join the People’s Coalition to Save FDR Park here

Who can I contact?

Here are just some of the people you can contact:

  1. Your council member! Find your council member here!

  2. At the Fairmount Park Conservancy:

  3. Friends of FDR Park contact form: https://www.fdrparkphilly.org/contact  

  4. Parks & Rec. Direct Contacts:

    • Kathryn Ott Lovell, Commissioner (Phone: (215) 683-3666, Email: kathryn.ott.lovell@phila.gov )

    • Patrick Morgan, First Deputy Commissioner (Phone: (215) 683-3636, Email: patrick.morgan@phila.gov )

    • Susan Beck, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, who ‘manages operations to "preserve & protect" public land & waterways! (Phone: (215) 683-0221, Email: susan.buck@phila.gov)

    • Aparna Palantino, Deputy Commissioner for Capital Infrastructure and Natural Lands Management, who oversees planning & projects!! (Phone: (215) 683-0202, Email: aparna.palantino@phila.gov)

  5. Other contacts can be found in the highlights of the @savethemeadowsfdr Instagram page!