SugarHouse Casino opened in mid-September, as scheduled.
The six-year battle to bring casinos to Philadelphia is not one I want to remark much on. If you want to hear argue for or against the existence of casinos in urban communities, you’ve come to the wrong place. Isaiah Thompson at Citypaper is downright obsessed with reporting on why casinos are in the net bad for communities.
What was still up for debate were two issues that I did care about, if a casino was going to come to my neighborhood.
I wanted the casino to embrace, enhance and help develop its portion of the Delaware River waterfront, so we could start embracing this beautiful asset of ours and do so through the sensible, efficient use of commercial development.
I wanted table games to supplement slots machines so, in my experience, if there was going to be gambling, it might go beyond the droning, heartless slots. (Basically, I have friends who would play blackjack for a night socially; they wouldn’t dump coins in a machine).
This weekend, I enjoyed the beautiful weather by taking a leisurely stroll through the casino’s compact 45,000 square-foot innards and the compound that surrounds it. In an hour’s time, my initial reaction was that, if a casino were to come to Philadelphia and considering much of the debate and compromise that has come with it, what SugarHouse is to date isn’t so terrible.
A few times a month, I go out to civic and town watch meetings in a variety of neighborhoods. Yes, I actually find most of them to be fun — local politics on the smallest of scale.
Since moving to Fishtown, I’ve begun going to monthly Fishtown Action and Fishtown Neighbors Meetings and filing reports for the Fishtown Spirit. It’s all within a few blocks of my house and endearing to be sure. Each month, I’ll probably share those two and any other pieces I might have had in the Spirit.
As I wrote after my first piece for my small, local community news weekly, it’s my way of getting to know new people and the issues facing them in a new neighborhood.
City officials defended two controversial proposals to close a $150 million shortfall in the city’s 2011 budget at last week’s Fishtown Neighbors Association meeting.
During the 90 minute session that saw raised voices and broad criticism of city spending, Deputy Streets Commissioner Carlton Williams addressed a proposed $300 trash collection fee and Mayoral Press Aide Katharine Martin talked about the two-cent-per-ounce sweetened beverage excise tax. Both proposals need City Council approval and remain executive branch proposals that are vying against ongoing deliberations, including suggestions to raise property taxes and tax smokeless tobacco products.
Read the rest here, or below find other pieces I’ve done in the past few months below.
Metro, the international newspaper group with a successful outlet in Philadelphia, recently dropped AP content. Though they still use Reuters and other wire services, losing the largest means perhaps more opportunity for interested freelancers. So I got involved.
My story takes perspective from casino experts on just how table games could affect the clientele at currently slots-only casinos. A leading state representative recently expressed his belief that table games should be allowed.
Below see some of what I cut from the final product.
HARRISBURG — The cost of the planned North Shore casino continues to rise and owner Don Barden still does not have enough money in place to finish construction, his spokesman said this morning.
Barden said he’s “not worried” about getting the money when he spoke to members of the state Gaming Control Board at their regular monthly meeting today. He still expects to open the Majestic Star Casino in May 2009.
“It’s moving along at just a terrific pace,” Barden told the board, adding that he could not provide specifics on his attempts to secure financing.