Papal tent city?


Hardly a week goes by without some sign of progress in Philadelphia. There are new restaurants, new families. The murder rate is at lows not seen in decades.

The city has gotten nice. But has it gotten nice enough for this?

Planners from the World Meeting of Families have floated the idea of allowing people to camp in public parks for the papal visit.

Details are scarce, too scarce to call it a plan. We don’t know which parks they’ll allow people to camp in, how the city and meeting planners will handle security, sanitation, campfires or s’mores.

But there are talks.

“With upwards of 1.5 million people expected to visit Philadelphia during the Papal Visit, the World Meeting of Families – Philadelphia 2015 is working hand-in-hand with the City of Philadelphia to best accommodate the domestic and international guests this September, and are considering a variety of options for lodging, including camping,” planners said in a statement.

Mark Focht, deputy mayor for parks and recreation, said that planners have raised the subject with his department.

Focht says his department is waiting for a formal proposal.

The need for additional space for visitors might seem obvious. Officials expect 1.5 million people to visit the city over the weekend of Pope Francis’ expected Mass of the BenjaminFranklin Parkway.

It’s doubtful that the city’s hotels could accommodate a crowd of that size.

Planners from the World Meeting say this discussion is very preliminary. Their website does have listings of campsites in the region — many of them in thePoconos.

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