The Society Hill Civic Association this week voted against the proposed move of Foxwoods Casino to The Gallery at Market East.
The adopted resolution does not list problems with the site itself, but rather with the way it was chosen.
“Whereas, the proposed Market Street site was chosen in closed door meetings that did not include any input from affected communities, any design proposal or impact studies, or any objective and public assessment of how The Gallery site compares to a number of other possible sites as alternatives to both the proposed Foxwoods and SugarHouse waterfront locations, the SHCA opposes the closed process by which the Market Street site was chosen, and therefore has no confidence in the result,” it reads.
The resolution does not rule out SHCA support for The Gallery or another alternative site in the future. But SHCA says it will not support any site unless it is chosen after an “open and transparent process” in which the public helps The City evaluate “all possible casino sites in Philadelphia, including those within 10 miles of racetracks with slot machines.”
SHCA also said all prospective sites should undergo a public cost/benefit analysis, and none should be situated near residences, schools, playgrounds or places of worship.
City officials have repeatedly said that the current review of The Gallery site is just beginning and that the process will be open and transparent with much public participation.
A big sticking point: The Gallery at Market East site was suggested to the City by Foxwoods, after a group of elected officials pressured the casino to move off their original Delaware Riverfront location. Many of the protesting residents from Society Hill, Chinatown, Washington Square West and other neighborhoods don’t want the Casino to select the site. They want the City, with lots of public input, to chose the best site.
At a Thursday press conference regarding proposed zoning changes that would allow a casino to operate at The Gallery, Mayor Michael Nutter said that was not possible in a private property society. The city could no more tell the casino where to move than it could tell any other private business, he said.
Posted by Kellie Patrick Gates. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org