Sunday, June 27, 2010

Latter Days

The RDA is pushing back against the proposed Mormon temple on Vine Street. Not because of any prejudice against the Latter Day Saints, but because of a bureaucratic loophole that allows the RDA to pass undeveloped surface lots from potential developer to potential developer, collecting a handsome sum with each transaction. Yet another clue into the blighting surface parking lots that littler Center City and Vine Street in particular. Once a lot becomes a lot, it's doomed to stay one as long as the RDA has its say-so.

Theoretically there is a time limit in which owners must develop these lots, but the RDA routinely denies these requests for one reason or another, ultimately cracking down on these time limits when they need to dip into the kitty, or as in the case of the Mormon temple, when a developer steps forward with cash and neighborhood support in hand. In the latter case, the RDA must hurry to find an excuse, any excuse, to make sure they get their hands on that land again, otherwise there are a few less cookie crumbs to pick up. It's deviously hypocritical because the point of this RDA program is to make sure things actually get built on these parking lots.

And then of course you have your chronic protesters who preach tolerance from a soap box plastered with anti-religious bumper stickers. Say what you want about the Mormon church, but it will bring tourists and even potentially a few residents. Although the church itself might not pay taxes, the residents and tourists it attracts do. I personally don't care for the the narrow-minded teachings of the Mormon church, and that's why I'm not one. However I don't find them any less prejudice than what can be taught by Catholicism or Judaism. Much of any religion is based on intolerant xenophobia based on poorly written fairy tales, but in protesting a religion out of town how is one not worse? Particularly in the city that drafted the idea of religious tolerance. And in that uniquely American creation, is it not fitting to have a home for a uniquely American religion?

Besides, I'm certainly don't want to discriminate against someone who wants to replace an eyesore of a parking lot with a beautiful building that attracts business and people. And to those who want to see a "science center" or a "high-rise condo" on this lot, are you kidding me? Really? There's a reason this lot has sat vacant for so long - the RDA - so unless you want to wait another few decades to see if maybe someone wants to build something, our best shot is to go with the Mormons, and hope it slaps the RDA in the face, and City Council and the Mayors Office will crack down on them the next time they try to pull off this shady move.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Royal Insurance Company Building

The Royal Insurance Company Building was built in 1882 and located at 212 S 3rd Street.