We had previously reported that the Biden administration opened a notice for public comment on January 8, 2023.
“The proposed rehabilitation of Welcome Park includes expanded interpretation of the Native American history of Philadelphia and was developed in consultation with representatives of the indigenous nations of the Haudenosaunee, the Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe of Indians, the Shawnee Tribe, and the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma,” the notice said. “The reimagined Welcome Park maintains certain aspects of the original design such as the street grid, the rivers and the east wall while adding a new planted buffer on three sides, and a ceremonial gathering space with circular benches. The Penn statue and Slate Roof house model will be removed and not reinstalled. In a separate and future effort, new exhibit panels will be installed on the south site wall to replace the Penn timeline.”
The notice was to be left up for 14 days so people could comment. However, by 6:30pm the National Park Service closed the comments and said the changes are being retracted.
“The preliminary draft proposal, which was released prematurely and had not been subject to a complete internal agency review, is being retracted. No changes to the William Penn statue are planned,” the NPS said in a statement.
You decided to remove the William Penn statue from the ONLY site in the city dedicated to the life and ideas of its founder? Because *some people* are uncomfortable with it? Absolutely shameful. https://t.co/YyVVXhy4oc pic.twitter.com/DI5ULzl9eR
— JLaw (@yoopermomma) January 7, 2024
A big part of the reversal took place when Democratic Governor Josh Shapiro stepped in.
My team has been in contact with the Biden Administration throughout the day to correct this decision. I’m pleased Welcome Park will remain the rightful home of this William Penn statue — right here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Penn founded. https://t.co/awSTpcyrNp
— Governor Josh Shapiro (@GovernorShapiro) January 8, 2024