Chinatown's long struggle to build a community and recreation center on the north side of Vine Street, seen as vital in spurring development on that side of the Vine Street expressway, moved a step closer this week when the state legislature voted to turn over a parcel of state-owned land to the city.

Gov. Rendell is expected to sign the legislation, signed by the House of Representatives today, that turns a PennDOT parcel on the northwest corner of 10th and Vine to the city's Redevelopment Authority. The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) has been seeking the bill's passage since January 2005.

"It's just a routine land transfer that hopefully will make life in Chinatown a little bit better by providing space to build a community center," said Chuck Ardo, Rendell's spokesman. O'Brien pointed out that the bill was considered in June, and passed along with several other land transfers in the past few weeks. John Chin, executive director of PCDC, said O'Brien had promised him before summer break -- long before the Foxwoods deal was on the table -- that the Community Center bill would pass this fall.

's NTI program, has been discussed as a concept for 25 years. It still has to be funded, Chin said, and there is a long way to go.

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