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Councilmember says he’ll introduce 76er arena proposal

Philadelphia Councilmember Mark Squilla told protesters today he would introduce a bill to approve the proposed 76er arena.

A handful of anti-arena demonstrators confronted him as he entered City Hall for the return of the session. They reminded him of his pledge that the arena would move forward “only if supported by the community.”

Chinatown residents have largely opposed the arena as a threat to their community. They say the arena which would border Chinatown would push up rents, increase traffic and discourage visitors from coming to Chinatown.

Squilla who represents the area where the arena would be built has ultimate veto power over the proposal. He stopped momentarily to engage with the activists.

The councilmember promised to share the ordinance 30 days in advance once the draft is completed and he said “we would need community stakeholder support before introducing it.”

Squilla did not know when the draft would be completed, but later Clutchpoint reported that the 76ers had moved back that timetable until the winter.

76er arena protesters confront Councilmember Squila
Courtesy: Asian American Political Alliance

“We have said from the start that we will follow the city’s lead and we’re willing to take the time to get this right. That’s why we announced the project eight years in advance,” Gainer said to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “While we will continue to work with urgency, we believe that a winter legislative process will likely make the most sense to allow time for the studies to be completed.”

Protesters saw today’s move as positive.

“Today’s news that developers have again been forced to delay their timeline for legislation, thanks to a powerful movement of Philadelphians, is a positive sign for the no arena movement. This fight is far from over,” said Mohan Seshadri, executive director of Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance.

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