76 Place update:
Community members have officially formed “The Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena.”
They say they’re certain the proposed Sixers arena would wipe out Philly’s Chinatown for good—not only a cultural loss for the city, but a personal loss as their home.@NBCPhiladelphia pic.twitter.com/46fB9IArBJ
— Karen Hua (@K_Hua) January 9, 2023
This was always going to be the case, a more organized effort from the various Chinatown groups. There’s a long history of community opposition because they’ve seen the Vine Street Expressway, Convention Center, and plenty of other things built in and around Chinatown over the years.
The new arena is being built on the edge of Chinatown, right on the border but not in the neighborhood, and of course it will have an impact on the area, just like any new development within a block or two of anything in Philadelphia. But some of the stuff you read is a little over the top, like a basketball arena is not going to “wipe out” Chinatown. Reading some of these stories, you’d think they were demolishing the Friendship Arch and replacing it with a sewage treatment plant instead, using taxpayer money to fund slave labor. This is not that. In another story, there’s a woman talking about Chinatown being one of the few places where you can speak “native language without fear of being bullied or misunderstood,” but I promise you that Rights to Ricky Sanchez listeners are not descending upon Chinatown in 2031 to torment the locals and force English upon them. Not to make light of legit concerns, but some of these complaints just aren’t rooted in reality. There’s a lot of exaggeration going on. If you want to talk about property values going up, resulting in increased rents and stressing the businesses on 10th/Arch/Cuthbert, then that’s an example of a real conversation to have.
Bottom line, something has to replace the mess of a Fashion District, where a group of teens attacked some guy on Saturday and broke his jaw. That part of Market Street is lagging far behind and we should all be in agreement that it needs some attention.
(I give it about 3 hours before someone from the Inquirer accuses Crossing Broad of being in David Adelman’s back pocket)