By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council president Darrell Clarke says the tragic death of Lewis Katz (see related stories) may delay or scuttle Katz’s plans to help develop the North Philadelphia neighborhood around his alma mater, Temple University.
“He was really a good guy. He was a person who people like,” said Clarke today, remembering Lewis Katz as a down-to-earth person despite his financial success. “A very personable individual. A very humble individual.”
Katz was a Temple University alumnus and sat on the school’s board of directors, and Clarke’s district includes the university and its surrounding neighborhood.
Clarke says he and Katz were in the “early stages” of talks on revitalizing that neighborhood:
“We were actually working towards coming up with some plans as it relates to the surrounding community, and improving the educational opportunities for those young people in those neighborhoods. But unfortunately, due to his untimely death, we are not in a position to conclude that,” Clarke said today.
So, Clarke says, the best way for him to honor Katz is to keep those unspecified plans alive.
“It’s important for us, to truly honor his memory, to carry forth some of the dreams and plans that he put forth. And I feel that I need to work very diligently, as it relates to the stakeholders around Temple University, to make sure we rebuild that community,” Clarke said.
Katz was a major donor to Temple, donating $25 million to the school last year. Temple just last month announced plans to name its medical school for him and awarded Katz an honorary degree.
The university has scheduled a memorial service in Katz’s honor for this coming Wednesday morning at 11am, at the Temple Performing Arts Center (formerly the Baptist Temple), 1837 North Broad Street.