April 26, 2016
State Senator Williams—
Please find attached all documents [...] provided Mayor Michael Nutter prior to the May 19 mayoral primary elections of last year. [...] was advised that actions would be taken, but only after the results of the primary election were known.
From October 01, 2014, through [...] meeting with you on February 11, 2016, [...] sought your assistance in a difficult intervention required at 700 Cobbs Creek Parkway. What began as [...] request for assistance through your good offices, regrettably, has become untenable.
As you also know, Executive Board Presidential mismanagement and financial malfeasance produced a set of toxic consequences quite the antithesis to a best practice nonprofit corporation that serves its community well:
1) the unlawful injury suffered by the persons contracted to create the Carole Williams-Green Environmental Exhibits Room; 2) the refusal to compensate the person who served as Interim CEO following the resignation of Judge Moore; and 3) the denial of salary to an Educator of the Summer, 2015 Work Ready Program—funded entirely by CIS, Philadelphia and their PYN grant.
Seven Hundred Cobbs Creek Parkway
Open Declaration to Commissioner, Parks & Recreation
Nineteen-Thirty-Seven: the original build-date… Twenty-Zero-One: completely renovated and repurposed. Communities; Citizens of the City of Philadelphia, the Neighborhood hard by, Fairmount Park, City Council, City Hall, State Legislators—and—the School District of Philadelphia rejoice in the first, truly visionary, public Parks and Recreation site dedicated to the teaching of school children, adults, academics and bikers, public and private groups.
The Teaching and Literacy Mission that began in Nineteen-Ninety-One: The Environment.
Fully two decades before the national academy-culture became STEM research, curricula, education, literacy for all, Cobbs Creek Environmental Education Center became real—a community made possible and sustained only by contributions of human and financial resources, only from private, charitable, public, governmental, forward looking vision, and good will acting in good faith for the commonwealth of our humanity in its stewardship of the well-being of our natural environment.
December, Twenty-fourteen: The Building is locked, window shades pulled, windows barred and bolted; chain-link fence with City of Philadelphia padlocks voice-over the visuals: “Building Closed—Keep Out.”
Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Education Center, Inc., a nonprofit corporation, on life support provided exclusively by the City of Philadelphia, its Agencies, and Administrative Officers, whose practical judgments long have been informed decisively by politically sensitive considerations.
Politically sensitive matters have natural life-cycles—each in accord with its origin, its ecological relevance within the broader governance habitats—and, in accord with the particular species of sensitivity by which such matters remain politically relevant.
Today, the Building at 700 Cobbs Creek Parkway sits like a derelict space probe, without power, purpose, or prospect of pursuing its Mission any further. The Center is insolvent; grant-funding sources have declined to renew past commitments; No funding is available for staff personnel; all funding for utilities and other costs required for maintaining comes from the City of Philadelphia. Thus, the Center fails to meet even minimal requirements of its License Agreement; specifically, and in direct violation of the Agreement, all visitors, the general public, and the community residents are actively discouraged from entering the Building, using the public restrooms, or otherwise enjoying this Licensed Space as part of a public building and the Fairmount Park system of the City.
Sadly, then, the politically sensitive matter that informs practical decisions among City of Philadelphia public officials no longer reaches the threshold of basic fairness for public spaces. The City of Philadelphia thus must—with no moral fatigue, no timid remembrance of political bullies—acknowledge its first duties.