Thursday, December 06, 2007

Update on Philadelphia area Boy Scouts

The Cradle of Liberty Council Boy Scouts of America stuck to their principles, and will evidently face eviction because of them (see my prior post).

But it isn't over yet.

NY TIMES: PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 4 — For three years the Philadelphia council of the Boy Scouts of America held its ground. It resisted the city’s request to change its discriminatory policy toward gay people despite threats that if it did not do so, the city would evict the group from a municipal building where the Scouts have resided practically rent free since 1928.

Hailed as the birthplace of the Boy Scouts, the Beaux Arts building is the seat of the seventh-largest chapter of the organization and the first of the more than 300 council service centers built by the Scouts around the country over the past century.


On May 31, the City Council voted 16-to-1 to authorize ending the lease, though [City Councilman] Clarke and other Council members continued trying to negotiate a settlement. Those efforts ended this week, Mr. Clarke said, adding that he had shifted his energy toward trying to see if there was a way the city could reimburse the group for improvements it had made to the property over the years.

Boy Scout officials said they do not have a cost estimate for the improvements, but [officials] said it would exceed $5 million.

It seems to me that since the City is changing the terms of the original 100 year lease, signed in 1928, there's another 20 years left to work out. $5M/20 years is $250,000/year .... $50,000 more than what the City has determined the fair market value of their property. I am certain the Boy Scouts will be willing to work out a payment plan that sits well with the City, and perhaps surrender the building - according to the lease - in 2028.

And I believe it is certain the Boy Scouts will certainly find suitable accommodations elsewhere in the region with that kind of return on their investment -- not to mention any negotiated interest accrued! (Remember: A Scout is Thrifty!)

Or the City could just honor their original lease.

This is the kind of issue Mayor-elect Nutter will have to resolve when he is sworn into office next month.

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