by Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Some Center City residents are ready to revolt over new rules in Rittenhouse Square.
Last week, signs went up prohibiting smoking and sitting on the cement balustrades at the center of the park.
Some see it as exclusionary, though city officials say they just want to keep the park beautiful.
Rina Asher cut through the park on her way home from grocery shopping and noticed a difference.
“If it was to cut out the weed-smokers, it does smell nice and fresh here today,” she said.
Asher is ambivalent about the new rules. She believes they were meant to make the park safer.
“Every time I walk through, there are people sitting around and now there are not. I don’t know if that’s safer or not. It’s probably less safe,” Asher said.
Christopher Bartlett is downright angry about them.
“To me, this is about privatizing the park and making sure people who are difficult can’t get in,” he said.
Bartlett plans to go to a sit-in on the balustrades, scheduled for Tuesday at noon, to protest.
Mayor Kenney’s spokesperson Lauren Hitt says the mayor is sensitive to the protestors concerns and does NOT want to keep anyone out.
“He just wants to make sure it’s used lawfully and respectfully by everyone,” Hitt said.