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AAPI advocacy groups submit request for info on 76ers arena communications

Asian American advocacy groups want to know what conversations city government officials and developers are having about the proposed 76ers arena (76 Place) behind closed doors.

Executives for the 76ers have proposed building 76 Place near the heart of Philadelphia’s Chinatown. AAPI advocacy groups like the Save Chinatown Coalition have strongly objected to the team’s plans.

According to a press release from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), the AALDEF and the Advocacy for Racial Civil (ARC) Justice Clinic recently submitted right-to-know requests to the city government. The requests are directed at the communications elected officials, city agencies and state agencies have been having with developers about the proposed 76 Place.

“Community members deserve a say in decisions affecting their city, and part of that is knowing what’s been said by decision makers in the rooms they’re not invited into,” Annie Lo, Skadden Fellow at AALDEF, said in a press release. 

“These information requests will help shed light on the conversations between elected officials and the developers that have been taking place behind closed doors. As a matter of public interest, information about the arena proposal must be made available to community members—especially those who would be most impacted by the plan.”

Sixers executives claim they are committed to including the community’s input on the area. In November 2022, nearly four months after the arena proposal was announced, team leaders and developer David Adleman met with over 200 members of the Philadelphia Chinese community. They hosted a town hall the next month hoping to address increasing concerns.

Developers have been researching the arena’s potential impact on the surrounding Chinatown arena. Advocates within the Chinatown community say they are continuing to be left out of that process. They were, for example, supposed to have input on impact studies that were commissioned and financed by private corporations.

The right-to-know requests hope to shed light on the information being shared between the city, the state and developers. According to a press release, the requests focus on three specific areas:

  • City involvement with three impact studies paid for by developers and commissioned by the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation
  • A privately completed developer study on transportation impact
  • City involvement or knowledge of property transactions near the proposed arena site; like the relocation of a Greyhound bus terminal

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