Boy Scouts will move out of Philadelphia headquarters

Boy Scouts Philadelphia
The Marks Scout Center at 22nd and Winter streets in Philadelphia. (Credit: Bruce Andersen / Wikipedia).

The Boy Scouts of America’s Cradle of Liberty Council has agreed to vacate its Philadelphia headquarters in return for an $825,000 settlement from the city, according to an announcement made on Friday.

The building at 22nd and Winter streets, which was built by the Boy Scouts in 1928 on city-owned property and leased from the city rent-free, has for over four years been the subject of litigation between the city and the Boy Scouts over the latter’s ban on gay members.

Philadelphia in 2010 unsuccessfully attempted to evict the chapter from the location for violating Philadelphia’s anti-discrimination policies.

“It is unfortunate that the city’s dispute with the Cradle of Liberty Council over its headquarters at 22nd and Winter streets could not be resolved outside of the courts,” Philadelphia City Council President Darrell Clarke said in a statement.

“The Cradle of Liberty Council has a long and admirable history of working with young people. I’m disappointed COLBSA was not permitted by the Boy Scouts of America to adopt its own, more reasonable policy of inclusion.”

The Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council staff will vacate the building by June 30, and employees at its retail store will move out by October 31.

The city, in return, will reimburse the chapter for an estimated $825,000 in capital improvements it’s made to the property over the years.

The agreement settles a long legal battle over the use of the building between Philadelphia and the Boy Scouts of America Cradle of Liberty Council after the city sued the Cradle of Liberty Council in 2008.

A federal judge last year ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts and ordered the city to pay $877,000 for the chapter’s legal fees.

The city was in the process of appealing the case to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals, but the settlement announced Friday will end the litigation and reportedly relieve the city of the responsibility of compensating for attorney’s fees.

This comes despite the fact that Boy Scouts of America, nationally, seems poised to end its ban on openly gay members.

“That the Boy Scouts of America appears willing to end a ban on openly gay children is just one step in the right direction,” Clarke said.

“As the birthplace of liberty, the city of Philadelphia must expect organizations that partner with us to abhor discrimination as much as we do. I will continue to support COLBSA’s great work with our youth as much as I continue to hope COLBSA will one day ban discrimination against gay children and adults.”


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