Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Major Compromise in Delaware Study

Ever since Penn Praxis began working on a master plan for the central Delaware waterfront, director Harris Steinberg has insisted that the study would be predicated on "the facts on the ground" - which is a diplomatic way of saying that he wasn't going to buck the state's decision to impose two slots barns on the city's great river. But on Monday, the anti-casino forces on the advisory committee scored a significant victory at their monthly meeting when they required Penn Praxis to investigate alternative uses for the two planned casino sites.

Essentially, the committee introduced a resolution that requires Penn Praxis to pursue a two-track approach to the casino problem:

Track One: Penn Praxis continues to acknowledge the facts on the ground. Its final master plan will show the existence of gargantuan gambling boxes on the sites owned by SugarHouse and Foxwoods casinos.
Track Two: Penn Praxis' final master plan will treat those parcels the same as any other vacant riverfront land. It subdivides them with streets and blocks in an effort to extend the city grid to the river. They will also create separate traffic studies for the two options.

The proponents call this the "build/no build option." Basically, they want Penn Praxis to acknowledge the existence of two incompatible realities. The maneuver may end up as so much of a tempest in a teapot, since the slots parlors are legally approved and moving ahead. But as a tactical move, it was a clever stroke by the anti-casino forces. Since the state Supreme Court has killed a ballot initiative aimed at blocking the casinos, the anti-casino forces have been looking for other means to fight gambling. Monday's vote - 13 in favor, 1 against and 3 abstentions -provides a wedge.

It may also help preserve the legitimacy of the waterfront planning process. Several neighborhood groups were so outraged by the "facts on the ground" approach that they were threatening to walk out on Penn Praxis. For the moment, all's quiet on the waterfront.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always thought the casinos should be located on Market street near the convention crnter. Big hotels could serve a dual purpose. And the casinos would get more convention dollars. The added employees and guests could help make center city a more 24 hour town like Manhattan. Even Steve Wynn saw an opportunity with a casino above the Gallery Shopping Mall and how about the Disney hole accross the street.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems almost inconceivable that they don't set up show next to the convention center doesn't it? We want other people's money and what better way to do it than placing it at our main draw?

8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These comments rest on the unfounded assumption that the politicians and the investors want to locate these casinos in the best locations, according to fundamental principles of land use and planning. The reality is that this is the biggest pay-to-play scam in history. Land use and planning have absolutely nothing to do with this process.

Rendell gave a casino to Ron Rubin.
Fumo gave a casino to Dick Sprague.

That's all ya need to know.

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we're on it, how can they possibly award a casino that is majority owed a billionaire from chicago? The license is free money which rather than being drained to jersey will now go to chicago

8:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the anon. above only 48% is going to Chicago 52% goes to Fast Eddy in Harrisburg

8:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe Philadelphian's can take comfort in knowing that billionaire Neil Bluhm is an equal opportunity thief. He just took a $51 million subsidy from Chicago taxpayers to pay for the modernization of a prime downtown building.

8:44 AM  

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