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South Philly Open House

City's planning commission listens in

At the planning commission's first open house on casinos Tuesday night, a small crowd showed up at Lincoln Financial Field. So small that it seemed like there were as many staffers as attendees.

The format was different. Instead of a raise-your-hand Q&A, the commission had stations for each project with relevant facts, site plans and a "facilitator" to write down comments on a big sheet of paper.

One column read: "Something I like…" Another: "Something that needs attention…"

Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger,  who mingled among the visitors, said the purpose of this exercise was to hear what people were saying and to relay the information to the state's Gaming Control Board, as well as to developers.  "It's in our best interest to get a lot of the proposals as good as they can be," he said.

And what needs attention?

  1. Casino Revolution: good that it's away from neighborhoods, but just "another casino on I-95."

  2. Live! Hotel & Casino: worries about impact on traffic and "getting in and out."

  3. Hollywood Casino: a "landlocked" box.

  4. Market8: fills a gap in the streetscape, but too close to historic district.

  5. Wynn Philadelphia: "looks like it should be in Atlantic City not Fishtown."

  6. The Provence:  traffic and congestion fears.

Many of the people who showed up were from South Philadelphia and already deal with the waves of cars drawn to the stadium district. Barbara Graziano lives just north of the district. "Having a casino would devastate our neighborhood," she said.

Tonight's session will be held in Center City at the Center for Architecture, 1218 Arch Street, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.