Fairmount Park Conservancy ED says Kathryn Ott Lovell should not resign


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.


  1. It should come as no surprise that the current Fairmount Park Conservancy Executive Director would come out to defend Parks and Rec Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. The last job Ott Lovell held before being appointed as Parks and Rec Commissioner was…. Executive Director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy. The Conservancy is beholden to Parks and Rec to accomplish its goals and as such its Executive Director is no position to give unbiased testimony on whether or not the Parks and Rec Commissioner should resign. Its also telling that McCarty mentions the Mows to Meadows program as an example of Ott Lovell’s good work. What they leave out is Mows to Meadows is a Fairmount Park Conservancy led project.

  2. Thank you……….I hope this information is read by many who are appalled by the criminal activity at Cobbs Creek……

  3. Parks & Rec Commissioner Lovell may have “called for the development of the City of Philadelphia’s first-ever long-term planning process to grow the tree canopy,” but then hastily approved the destruction of 100 acres of trees, or 0.6% of the entire city’s tree canopy.

    Ms. Carthy, you must admit that this is not consistent with the goal of growing the tree canopy.

    Moreover, your recitation of Commissioner Lovell’s LinkedIn profile is yet another instance of city officials and leaders, if they may be styled as such, denying to our faces that damage has been done.

    This widespread and barely announced destruction of 100 acres of trees would not have happened anywhere near Ms. McCarthy’s better-resourced Wissahickon Creek watershed.

    Neighbors and advocates of Cobbs Creek remain open to dialogue with city officials, but first we need an acknowledgment that damage was done, and a plan for correcting it.

  4. Like Kathryn Ott Lovell, Maura McCarthy is a shill for private business interests and those who serve them in city government. They’re both appointed by the Mayor because they’re good at public relations, not because they care about our parks. Their strategy is to ‘greenwash’ the city’s desctruction of nature and selling off of our public lands. This op ed is a prime example.

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