HomeChinese AmericanProtesters demand no public funds for 76er arena near Chinatown

Protesters demand no public funds for 76er arena near Chinatown

Opponents of the proposed 76er arena near Philadelphia Chinatown packed a city council meeting Thursday demanding no public funds for the project.

Councilmember Mark Squilla who represents the area said he would not support any use of city funds, but left room to support the building of the new sports venue in the near future.

“I made a commitment not to support any local funding, city funding for the project. I have no control over the state elected officials, and the federal elected officials,” he said.

Opponents of the arena had released a video on Instagram of Squilla making a pledge of no use of city funds.

Squilla has fallen short of officially opposing the complex that some say will squeeze out Chinatown with higher rent, traffic congestion and gentrification.

“I think it’s an interesting proposal. I’m still not sure based on the impact of the community,” he said. “I could support it, yes.”

The team Thursday said it too did not support the use of city funds, but left the door open for state and federal funding in a statement much aligned with what Squilla said.

“We are focused on delivering an arena that makes a positive and lasting impact on our city. This project is being financed through a combination of equity and debt, along with advertising and sponsorship revenue. We believe that a development of this nature in Philadelphia should not utilize scarce public resources. We will not be seeking any subsidies from the City of Philadelphia. However, if there are existing state and federal programs that this project qualifies for and could help us enhance the project, we will be open to exploring them.”

The team announced Thursday it had collected 30,000 signatures in support of its proposal.

Opponents dismissed the significance of the signatures collected because the residents largely impacted by the arena, Chinatown, oppose it.

“The 76ers can say they have a lot of support for a downtown arena,” John Chin, the executive director of the PCDC, said. “I think the issue for Chinatown is its proximity to our neighborhood and its potential impact, which we’ve clearly identified as problematic.”

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