“This community has been around here for 150 years. We are not stupid. We know that this is a land grab,” a coalition leader said.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) – A Philadelphia community is banding together, and strengthening its allies, in a fight to stop the 76ers’ proposed arena.
They announced the “Chinatown Coalition to Oppose the Arena” on Monday morning. It includes more than 40 Chinatown community groups, nonprofits and business organizations and will have assistance from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, organizers said Monday.
The proposed $1.3 billion arena, called 76 Place, would sit along Market Street between 10th and 11th streets, neighboring Chinatown.
The new coalition said it has obtained the signatures of the owners of at least 90 businesses that are in opposition to the arena.
“We’re still the small guys here, we’ve got to do what we can. This is about community, this is not about money,” said Harry Leong, president of the Philadelphia Suns, a youth sports and development program.
The coalition’s main concerns involve traffic congestion and a rise in real estate taxes that they fear would destroy small businesses and residents.
If big developers come in and build a stadium, the group worries other big retail corporations will come with it - pushing out the 21,000 Chinese people who consider Chinatown a sacred community.
“This community has been around here for 150 years. We are not stupid. We know that this is a land grab. We know that billionaire developers’ interest is taking our land and erasing our community,” said Steven Zhu, president of the Chinese Restaurant Association of Greater Philadelphia.