Philly and the DNC: What They’re Saying
Well, that was something. The Democrats chose Philadelphia for their 2016 nominating convention and — pending papal visit aside — we’re not sure we’ve seen such an explosion of civic pride since the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.
Here’s what they’re saying (in Philadelphia and beyond) about the DNC decision. First of all are we ready?
CBS Philly spoke with Matt Homan, general manager of the Wells Fargo Center where most events will take place.
In an exclusive TV interview with Eyewitness News, Homan says his team hit the ground running the second he got the news Thursday morning. He says the first step is to make sure he has extra staff on hand.
“Probably double that for something like the DNC,” he said. “It’s just the magnitude of the event and there’s so many different moving parts.”
Homan says they’ll have to work closely with the secret service and city to orchestrate a seamless securityteam. Transportation from surrounding sports complex parking areas will also be a top priority.
“Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and Fire Commissioner Derrick Sawyer says they are confident the city is prepared to provide protection during the convention,” CBS Philly reports in a separate story. “Ramsey says working with federal agencies the city is ready to handle everything from possible traffic snarls to protecting visiting dignitaries. The Commissioner pointed out many of his top planners are veteran officers who helped with the 2000 RNC.” The security costs will be covered through a federal grant.
NBC 10 reports the convention could bring hundreds of millions of dollars into the city:
The quadrennial political gathering could also bring a bigger boost for one of the country’s most formative cities: a multi-million dollar injection of cash into the region and its local businesses.
“Our hospitality community is on fire,” Mayor Michael Nutter said Thursday, shortly after the pick was announced. “We do have this opportunity literally to make history again with hosting this convention.”
Organizers and party officials estimate that the July 2016 convention will generate an overall economic impact of between $170 and $250 million in direct and indirect spending. That includes everything from hotel room rates and restaurant tabs to security details, infrastructure upgrades and construction jobs.
The Inquirer reminds us, however, that it takes money to make money:
Now that the gig belongs to the city, it comes with an $84 million fund-raising challenge.
Mayor Nutter said the plan was to rely on federal and private dollars and use no city funds for the weeklong political fest.
“We will not have any trouble raising money for this convention. Folks are excited, they are ecstatic, they are enthusiastic, and we will enthusiastically and ecstatically take their money to support this particular convention,” he said to laughs at a news conference announcing Philadelphia’s selection.
Philadelphia Business Journal says business leaders are excited for the long-term consequences of the convention:
William P. Hankowsky, chairman, president and CEO of Liberty Property Trust, said just as important as the money generated by visitors spending money on hotels, restaurants and attractions is showing off a new Philadelphia to people from around the world who might not have visited recently.
“People who haven’t been here in a while are going to say, ‘Wow, this is a different city,’ ” Hankowsky said. “The skyline, restaurants, all the young people on the streets. So we will be exposing them to a new Philadelphia. And in 2000, you might not have taken someone to a restaurant in Northern Liberties or Passyunk Avenue, or to see the activity at the Navy Yard.”
The combined impact of Pope Francis visiting Philadelphia this fall and the DNC coming the following summer will give Philadelphia a significant marketing bump, Hankowsky said.
The Courier-Post says the good vibes are being felt in South Jersey:
The two events will mean a tremendous boon for the area, with politicos, hoteliers, restaurateurs and tourism officials salivating at the prospect of hundreds of thousands of visitors.
“I’m psyched!” exclaimed State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney, D-Gloucester.
“I am so, so happy. I live right outside of Philadelphia, so it’s even sweeter for me. It’s a beautiful city, it’s a clean city, and it’s got all the history. It’s where the country started, and I’m just thrilled.”
NewsWorks lets us finish by pointing out that Philadelphia has earned its moment in the spotlight.
Ira Rosen, a professor at Temple University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management, said what really distinguishes Philadelphia as an event destination is its recent history of effective teamwork.
Over the last 15 years, Philadelphia has built a reputation for successfully planning and executing major public events, including the Made in America concert series and the annual Wawa Welcome America celebrations.
“The RNC was a huge crapshoot. It was a big roll of the dice,” said Rosen, who has planned and organized numerous large events himself, including the Philadelphia Flower Show. “And the city has done great on every major event since.”