Statement on Park Expansion Bill
PHILADELPHIA (December 18, 2007)—After considerable discussion with all involved parties, Fox Chase Cancer Center believes that any action by Philadelphia City Council on legislation to transfer 19.4 acres of adjacent parkland should be deferred until the beginning of 2008 when City Council reconvenes. The bill, which was introduced by Councilman Brian O'Neill several weeks ago, is one of two that are essential to Fox Chase's expansion of its clinical and research facilities at the current location in Northeast Philadelphia. Council passed the second of the two bills, an IDD that allows for the development of a campus-wide master plan, last week.
"We are disappointed by this delay," said Fox Chase Chancellor, Robert C. Young, MD. "We have spent four years working out this agreement and hoped to have the agreement completed and through City Council during the Street administration. We recognize, however, that this is a very complicated issue. At this time, there are still several key points that have not been fully resolved. Having come this far, it makes sense to take the extra time and get it right. We look forward to working with Mayor Nutter and his administration to move this forward as quickly as possible."
The Center acknowledges the strong efforts of all parties to complete this agreement, including representatives of the City, the Fairmount Park Commission, Councilman O'Neill and other members of the City Council, and the Fox Chase and Burholme communities. In addition, the Center reaffirms its commitment to remaining in its current location if possible.
"We have said from the beginning that we want to stay where we are and grow as part of our community," said Young. "At the same time, we have to be realistic. Our patient volumes are very high and increasing every year. We need additional, improved clinical facilities to provide our patients with the best care available, as well as new research facilities. Our goal is to be one of the premier cancer treatment and research facilities in the world. To do that, we have to expand. While we will continue to work to complete the Burholme Park agreement, we have no choice but to assess alternative strategies for expansion and are actively doing so."
Fox Chase will continue to work with all parties to complete the land transfer agreement. The Center remains optimistic that we will be able to resolve any outstanding issues by early 2008 and move forward with this critical expansion.
Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase also was among the first institutions to receive the National Cancer Institute’s prestigious comprehensive cancer center designation in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has achieved Magnet status for excellence three consecutive times. Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research and oversees programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. For more information, call 1-888-FOX-CHASE (1-888-369-2427).