A rendering of Bart Blatstein's Provence casino.
There are six contenders for the second Philadelphia casino license, and the city waits to learn its fate. To refresh the memories, the six are:
1. The Provence, Broad and Callowhill
2. Market8, Eighth and Market
3. Wynn Philadelphia, waterfront, vicinity of Delaware and Richmond
4. Casino Revolution, vicinity of Whitman Plaza
5. Hollywood Philadelphia, 7th and Packer
6. Live! Hotel and Casino Philadelphia, vicinity of the stadiums
Now the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board is holding public meetings to get input on the six proposals, and nothing brings out the wacky like large-scale community meetings where Philadelphians are asked to provide feedback. From the Inquirer:
Everyone from residents to business owners and city officials is welcome to speak. Individuals will have five minutes; representatives for organizations will get 10.
Sen. Larry Farnese, a Democrat from South Philadelphia, said he did not detect the same rancor over casinos this time around. Farnese, whose district includes all six proposed projects, said neighbors at this point were engaged.
But it may start to get ugly.
We can only hope.
All kidding aside, the concerns about the casinos have merit: In Chinatown, for instance, the worry is about compulsive gambling in the Asian community. By the waterfront, there are concerns about quality of life and waterfront accessibility. Some community members have gotten very organized: According to Jennifer Lin, “More than two dozen neighborhood associations, schools, churches, and one synagogue have formed the North Broad Community Coalition to interact with [the Provence's Bart] Blatstein on what they view as quality-of-life issues.” No one can accuse Blatstein of being reluctant to engage community concerns: he’s been to more than 35 meetings to address issues like crime, litter and traffic.
The meetings will be interesting, to say the least.
WHAT: Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board public hearings on casino proposals
WHEN: April 11, 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and April 12, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Philadelphia Convention Center, Room 114
HOW: To register to speak, go here.