Petition for Fairmount Sports Association
As many of you are aware, a considerable and growing encampment of homeless rights advocates have positioned themselves on the Southeast corner of Von Colln Memorial Field, which is the ball field that is bounded by the Parkway to the south, Pennsylvania Avenue to the north, 22nd Street to the East, and Spring Garden Street. This protest grew out of the George Floyd and Black Lives Matter protests that have dominated the national and local discussion for the past five weeks now.
The issue of persistent homelessness and housing insecurity is one of the most vexing issues confronting this city, and while the Logan Square neighborhood can count itself fortunate and blessed in many regards, we are not strangers to this issue and stand firmly on the side of those who advocate for long-term solutions. We are known to many of the city’s most important advocates on this issue for our active involvement; we’ve made affordable housing a goal of our 2019 neighborhood development plan.
But the issue of this particular encampment - unannounced, operating entirely outside the City approval process - is of a different order of free expression. And the encampment’s persistence is now a direct challenge to the resumption of one of this neighborhood’s most treasured outdoor resources: T-Ball and Little League and Softball play overseen at Von Colln Memorial Field by our neighbors who run the Fairmount Sports Association (FSA). Over 400 Boys and Girls from 36 zip codes across the city play in FSA’s leagues each year.
As the City maps its way out of the worst of the COVID-19 lockdown, the City has given its approval for the resumption of these youth-oriented activities. A tentative start date of July 6th has been circled. As anyone from the neighborhood will know, once the ball-playing season at Von Colln Memorial Field commences, the park is thronged each evening and throughout the weekends as a vital outlet for our youth and their families. FSA has been a crucial institution for our neighborhood for over 60 years. Many kids from LSNA member families have participated in these activities.
It is the judgement of the leaders of the Fairmount Sports Association that play cannot resume side-by-side with this protest encampment. The encampment now fully consumes the fields where the T-Ball activities are concentrated; tents now spill over on to the main playing fields closer to Pennsylvania Ave.
The board of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association supports the FSA in this conclusion. The intention of this petition is to insist that City authorities undertake to move the encampment from its present location so that youth activities at Von Colln Memorial Field can resume.
To sign this petition is not to be oppositional to the intention of the protesters nor their aims. But if the challenges of COVID-19 were not enough for the City, for this neighborhood, the undersigned are asking for the needed resumption of the organized youth-oriented activity for which this park is known and for the timely and humane conclusion of the ongoing encampment.
To Sign the Petition, click HERE.