South Philadelphia resident Joanna Osawa said she didn’t know Xfinity Live! had opened in the sports complex adjacent to Franklin Delano Roosevelt Park, but she said the community should focus on how to improve its parks and public spaces, instead of opening more businesses.
Last year Osawa left her home in Japan and moved to the 800 block of Federal Street. Osawa takes her children to FDR Park occasionally and said the one thing that catches her attention is the amount of trash littered around the park’s fields.
“I bring my family to the park to just enjoy the nature and the environment,” Osawa said. “But some people just throw the trash on the ground. In Japan we don’t have trash cans in our parks and we have to carry all our trash home with us.”
Xfinity Live! opened on March 30, as a dining and entertainment venue in the sports complex. The new venue allows guests to watch Philadelphia sports teams on large T.V. screens, but any person under 21 must be accompanied by a person 25 years of age or older to enter and after 9 p.m., all guests must be 21 or older to enter.
The mother of two who works as an insurance agency owner said she doesn’t partake in activities found in the Sports Complex Special Services District such as watching sporting events or going to sports bars. Osawa said the same maintenance care used to develop the sports complex should be allotted to care for the city’s parks.
“Some parks in Japan charge money when you get into them,” Osawa said. “[Japan] needs the public to pay fees to maintain the parks.”
“When the people come [to FDR Park] and play, they don’t care about any other people,” she added. “They come here and enjoy the good part of the park, but then they just leave their trash behind.”
Osawa said that when she lived in Osaka, Japan, the city had a more compact design overall than what she has experienced in Philadelphia.
“The area is more open in Philadelphia,” Osawa said. “Here there are large parks and we cannot have that in Japan.”
According to the Lower South District plan, which was adopted on March 20 by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission, the district uses 5.6 percent of its land for park or open space, while a majority of its land use is designated as industrial (41.3 percent).
When FDR park was dedicated in 1914, it included land that is now occupied by Xfinity Live! and the Wells Fargo Center. Today Xfinity Live! uses the park, located at Broad Street and Pattison Avenue, for overflow parking when there are two or more events at the sports complex.
Local resident Ralph DeFrancesco, who lives on the 1300 block of Bigler Street, said he can see the stadiums from his house and hasn’t been affected by the crowds Xfinity Live! has attracted thus far.
“I’ve been living here my whole life, so I’m used to it,” DeFrancesco said. “I think it’s going to be good having Xfinity Live! and keeping [sport-related venues] all in the same spot.”