It did not come as a surprise this morning when we received reports and photographs that a survey crew was at Wigard and Henry Avenues — just over two weeks after Philadelphia Parks & Recreation released their plans:
“to conduct an internal re-evaluation of the concept”
Alliance for Preservation of the Wissahickon (APOW) wants to know:
- Who is involved in this re-evaluation?
- Are taxpayers dollars and staff time continuing to be wasted?
- What consultants/contractors are being paid and how much?
- If the Wissahickon is still being considered, APOW and other stakeholders should be involved in deciding on the scope, progress of the work, and review and comment on any draft and final reports generated from this evaluation.
This is a reasonable request based on the other statement contained in that same information:
“PP&R also believes in a collaborative process when working within a community and that value has influenced the decision to re-examine the Tree Top Adventure proposal.”
Councilman Curtis Jones also shared at a recent meeting on May 7, 2013:
“there is a process (within the government) to be transparent and the public is to be informed”.
After some inquiring, some shared that the surveyors were in fact on site in connection to the zipline. Other contacts denied any connection to the same area of land, including Marcus Allen of the Department of Public Property.
Many people are afraid that Philadelphia Parks & Recreation may be trying to legally circumvent the public process where they have been met with widespread opposition from parks groups, civic groups, city taxpayers, city council members and regional park users. Is there any truth to the rumor that there may be a legal loophole to get around having a contract for a concession of this kind go through without city council approval?
APOW contacted Mike DiBerardinis to inquire about the recent survey. The Office of Councilman Curtis Jones was also contacted and we received word that Ed Fagan from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation is preparing a final statement from Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. Perhaps Mr. Fagan will clarify for us the following from their May 2, 2013 public statement :
• “deferring public action”: Does this imply there is activity out of public view?
• “deferring public…discussion”: Does this imply internal discussion is continuing with a possibility of another entry to construct the zipline tree top adventure?
• “internal re-evaluation”: Shouldn’t the taxpayers be privy to proposed concepts for the city parks?