As a publication committed to a healthy, sustainable, and just city, I am extremely disappointed in Grid’s April coverage calling for the resignation of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell.
Like many Philadelphians, I expect Grid to do tough, but fair, reporting on environmental issues and public works projects. However, your recent op-ed and continued coverage of the Cobb Creek Golf Course project read as biased and myopic and doesn’t recognize Kathryn Ott Lovell’s record as a dedicated public servant who has been a major force behind significant progress in our City’s approach to natural lands restoration, tree canopy protection, and urban farming over the last decade. She is one of our City’s most effective leaders.
You are calling for the resignation of a nationally-recognized public space leader with a record of using her passion and fundraising prowess to improve environmental conditions in our City. Here are just a few examples:
· Called for the development of the City of Philadelphia’s first-ever long-term planning process to grow the tree canopy. Secured private funding to undertake a robust planning process.
· Called for the systematic review of how the City serves urban farmers, with a specific focus on equity and proposing ways to better serve underserved constituencies.
· Incorporated climate change projections and considerations into park planning for the first time to ensure sustainable development and preservation of green spaces.
· Oversaw the Mows to Meadows project to restore over five acres of West Fairmount Park into natively populated meadowland.
· Helped to found and resource the city’s TreePhilly Program, raising over $2 million over the past 10 years, enabling the distribution of over 24,000 free yard trees to Philadelphia residents.
Your condemnation of Commissioner Ott Lovell, an exceptional public servant who works diligently on behalf of all Philadelphians, is simply unacceptable and shortsighted.