January 15: 22nd & Market Memorial push | Blatstein negotiating community agreement for possible casino | Is market too saturated for 2nd casino? | Engine 66 still closed | 20th century housing reform

Here’s your misty morning news, Streeters: 

The push to create a memorial at the corner of 22nd and Market continues, backed by more than 6,000 signatures. The Daily News reports that the 22nd  & Market Memorial Committee wants to see a temporary, then permanent memorial to the six people who died during the demolition-related collapse of the Salvation Army building last June.

As Philly readies for another round of hearings on the five bidders left for its second casino, developer Bart Blatstein – the force behind a casino in the former Inquirer building on North Broad Street – has been negotiating with neighbors. Blatstein is trying to sew up a community benefits agreement in case his planned casino, The Provence, is granted Philly’s second license. The Daily News reports that Blatstein’s proposed agreement includes neighborhood cleaning, $300,000-$450,000 annually into a neighborhood improvement fund, covering the legal fees for the North Broad Community Coalition. But the agreement is contingent on the community not opposing The Provence’s license. Critics call that buying the neighborhood for the sake of PR, Blatstein’s spokesman calls it being responsible.

Meanwhile Karen Heller wonders: Should the Gaming Control Board just say no to another casino? It’s not that she’s anti-casino. “What I’m against is another massive struggling construction project – like the Convention Center,” Heller explains. She wonders how a second casino can be successful with so much competition from other sites, and when swishy amenities aren’t as likely to keep it afloat here. Why push it through when the market is saturated?

Roxborough’s Engine 66 firehouse has been closed since mid-December due to noxious chemical fumes. The Daily News reports that the chemicals aren’t typically used in firefighting and the Fire Department is seeking a “remediation solution.” Meanwhile neighbors are nervous about slower response times in the event of a fire.

The War on Poverty is 50, the war has gone on far longer. PhillyHistory shares the story of Philly slums and housing reform in the early 20th century, complete with incredible pictures of Society Hill slum conditions and rooming houses from 1912-1914. It was pictures like these that helped drive Philadelphia to its first housing code. 

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