We attended an all day strategy session hosted by Casino Free Philadelphia on Saturday. It was informational and yielded tangible strategies and gave each of us next steps in the fight.
It’s not a done deal. That’s what they said about the construction of I-95 in the late ’50s. The original plan called for an elevated highway along the riverfront. With the exceptions of pass throughs for Spruce and Dock Streets there would be no way to pass from the neighborhoods to the (at the time) planned Penn’s Landing development. A group of lawyers got together and fought to change the design to a sunken highway. Ultimately they got the plans changed and 95 is now below street level with many overpasses for foot and vehicle traffic. We got the story first hand from one of the lawyers involved. He knew less about organizing at the time than the organizers of Casino Free Philadelphia.
Lesson for developers that don’t listen to the community: New Market in Society Hill. It was a multi-level shopping development right off head house square between South, Lombard, Front and Second Streets. There is surprisingly little online about this development. The neighborhood didn’t want it, the developers built it anyway. Ultimately it was abandoned and sat vacant for years. It was demolished a few years ago and is currently a vacant lot.
It won’t end here. There are rumors that Foxwoods has options to buy land from Comcast to the north and Home Depot in the south. This means a few things– namely that they can expand and swallow up more of Philadelphia’s waterfront but more insidious is that this land could continue to remain vacant in wait for Foxwoods to buy it. This is exactly the situation much of Philadelphia’s waterfront is in now– waiting for wealthy casino owners to buy it. Why would land owners sell when they know they can hold out and sell at premium prices to well funded casino operators.
I’ve posted photos here.
Consider getting involved. We can stop the casines but we need help.
Casino Free PA Excellent resource, the coordinator is passionate about the topic.
The Luck Business by Robert Goodman
Gambling in America by Earl Grinols
Without Reservation by Jeff Benedict
Here’s my edit of the the message Casino Free Philadelphia suggests we send to Philadelphians:
This past Saturday more than 80 Philadelphians joined together to take the next step in keeping Philadelphia casino free.
Now that the State has conditionally licensed two casinos on our City's waterfront the negative impact and potential harm is becoming clearer. Our politicians at the State and City level have been clever in how they have planned to impose slots gaming into our city. But they didn't plan for the resistance which is growing stronger every day.
Saturday's strategy event with Casino Free Philadelphia made it clear that we have a great deal of power and ability to protect our families, communities, city and state from the negative effects of gaming. But to do so we need to reach out to people we know and encourage them to get informed and involved.
Please go to www.casinofreephila.org and join the email list. While you are at the website check out the media clippings, photos, videos and other resources available. Please share this resource, by forwarding this email, to other people you know. Please also consider joining me for future actions, events and meetings.