Temple's stadium is far from the red zone

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Fans cheer on the Temple Owls football team.

Temple University has quite a bit of work to do if it wants to build a football stadium on campus, says Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke.

In other words, the Owls aren't in the red zone.

"At some point, it probably will require a significant amount of city support, and at this point, that's not there," he said.

His comments came one day after Temple president Neil D. Theobald told student government leaders that he intended to recommend to the university's board of trustees that the school proceed with plans for a stadium.

For starters, the university should work on solving noise, trash, and parking problems associated with students living in its North Philadelphia neighborhood, Clarke said. And the university must build major community support for a stadium, which constitutes "significant development in the middle of a neighborhood," he said.

Temple board chairman Patrick O'Connor said university officials understand the need for the community's support and are working on the issue.

"We want to work with the community so we have adequate space for the stadium," he said. "Until we get the go-ahead, Temple will pursue the stadium but not with any substantial outlay" of money.

Trustees at a 3:30 p.m. Monday meeting will consider whether to give the project conceptual approval with conditions, O'Connor said. Those conditions include raising enough money from donors, securing city approvals, and reasonable cost.

"It's got to be a benefit and an add-on to the community in which we live and it has to make economic sense for us to do it," he said, noting it won't be financed through tuition dollars.

Initial projections call for a 35,000-seat stadium in the northwest corner of campus. Price tag: $100 million.

The stadium complex, he said, would be for more than just football. It could have various community uses, including rallies, speeches, concerts, and other sporting events. Some type of retail would be included.

Temple also would like to dedicate a space across the street from the stadium for an alumni center, he said. He said he is hoping that alumni will step up and donate to the stadium.

Also under consideration is some type of health-care service for the community, he said.

Clarke wasn't won over.

"They should do that anyway," he said, "regardless of a stadium."

Temple began exploring a stadium on campus because renting Lincoln Financial Field has become too expensive. Mayor Kenney also has expressed frustration over the cost of the arrangement with the Eagles. He met with university officials in December, and his objections led the board to delay a vote on proceeding with the project.

"He asked them to include the community in the decision-making process," said Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt, "and if they decided to move ahead with the stadium, to not just minimize negative impact, but to include them in any positive economic impact."

A stadium could be a hard sell for some neighbors, including Cassandra Knight, who lives on Arlington Street, near 17th and Norris Streets, and said she works at Temple in housekeeping.

"It won't be a benefit to us," she said, asserting that Temple already crowds the neighborhood. "Where are you going to put a parking lot? And here come the tailgate parties. They're already taking over" everything.

ssnyder@phillynews.com

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