SugarHouse Casino gives a half million to community group

    SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia handed over its second big check to local community groups October 14. The $500,000 payment went to Penn Treaty Special Services District to go to whatever projects it decides to fund.

    Philadelphia’s new casino gave its second planned payment to the community on Thursday. The $500,000 check is part of a negotiated deal to help fund community groups.

    As gamblers poured money into slot machines inside, casino executives, Mayor Nutter, and community members stood on the Sugarhouse trolley outside of the north Delaware Avenue casino. They held an oversized card board check for half a million dollars. The real check was handed over to members of the Penn Treaty Special Services District. The group is an all volunteer organization that accepts grant applications from organizations in Fishtown, South Kensington, Northern Liberties and Richmond.

    “Our checkbook is open to everyone,” says Rich Levins a Penn Treaty board member. “We are 100 percent transparent; we are all volunteers so every dime is going back into the community without exception.”

    Levins says the original payment of $175,000 dollars helped fund several athletic clubs, arts programs and a dog park.

    Once the rest of the Sugarhouse project is complete, the yearly payment to community groups will double to $1 million.

    “It’s the people who live in the neighborhood who get to decide what’s important to us, what are our priorities how do we want to disperse this money throughout the community,” explains Wendy Hamilton, the General Manager for Sugarhouse. “Our job is to write the check and it’s their job to spend it.”

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