Renovation of the Cobbs Creek Golf Course — which has gone from one of America’s top public golf courses to a failed city asset — will also involve a new education and community engagement center, fares discounts for city residents, as well as partnerships with area school districts to provide job skills programs and other opportunities for Philadelphia youth.
It’s normal for the city to bring in cash in order to leverage greater private investment in city assets, Ott Lovell said. Take for example the planned freeway ceiling at Penn’s Landing – which would bring in more than $50 million over the next six years in Kenney’s capital plan – or the Schuylkill River Trail bathrooms, or Bartam’s Garden, she said.
“Restoring the creek…has been the responsibility of the city, but hasn’t been something the city has been able to undertake,” she said. “The foundation could not restore the golf course without restoring the creek. So, even though it was the responsibility of the city, it was clear to the foundation that it was not going to be able to be financed by the city as a whole.
The city’s $3 million capital donation would be part of an estimated $15 million the foundation has budgeted for floodplain restoration. The foundation also expects to receive $15 million in stream restoration credits from the state Department of Environmental Protection.
City Council must approve the Mayor’s capital budget. City Councilman Curtis Jones, Jr., whose district includes the golf course, joined a tour of the property Monday alongside Ott Lovell, foundation leaders, neighbors and community advocates. environment who have criticized the foundation’s work to date. Jones expressed hesitation about a city investment.
“I think that, at this point, should be the foundation [putting in money],” he said.
Jones said he wasn’t sure exactly what the $3 million requested by the mayor’s office would pay, but indicated he would support such an investment if it helped his constituents gain access to the course.
“If this $1.5 [million] go for the outdoor things, maybe sidewalks and lights and tree-lined streetscapes, I’m all for it,” he said. “I don’t want it for the ninth hole.”
The Cobbs Creek Foundation has come under fire for felling hundreds of trees, many several feet wide, on the property, raising concerns about increased erosion, flooding and habitat loss . City officials and foundation leaders argue that tree removal did not contribute to erosion or increase flood risk, but was necessary in part for the creation of the wetlands, which they believe will provide a stormwater management benefit to the surrounding community. But residents have also complained about what they see as a weak public engagement process that has failed to reach many neighbors.
“It felt like my garden had been slaughtered,” said Simone Scott, a neighboring resident who used to take her children for walks on the overgrown golf course, after viewing the property on Monday. . “I can’t believe they did all this, like without really talking to people.”