Quality Public Space vs. Lack of Funds

The group that maintains Philadelphia's famed Rittenhouse Square has put a lot of maintenance work into making it a lovely space, but is faced with mounting expenses and needs new ways to pay for them.

A squabble is brewing in Rittenhouse Square, where the group that maintains the park (the Friends of Rittenhouse Square) is seeking new ways of using the park to make money to pay for the extensive cost of maintenance. Critics say the group is going to ruin the character of the place they are trying to save with their funding techniques, which could include more events, services or even sponsorship in the square.

Recently, the Friends hired a contractor to come up with new ways for the park to make the money it needs.

"Last summer, the board hired Dan Biederman to propose alternative funding sources for the square. The move was not well publicized and, when it became known, provoked long-simmering antipathies.

Biederman, who once worked for the Rockefellers, helped transform Bryant Park in Manhattan from a derelict expanse frequented mostly by drug dealers and rats into a lively gathering spot with restaurants, after-work events, and, in winter, an ice-skating rink."

Full Story: Fight erupts over Rittenhouse Square's future

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