76ers pitch job creation as benefit of new arena to West Philadelphia church
PHILADELPHIA - The $1.3 billion Philadelphia 76ers arena proposal was brought to the congregation at the Church Of Christian Compassion in West Philadelphia on Sunday.
This has been a controversial proposal for a while now. A lot of the opposition coming from business owners, and people who live in Chinatown.
The Church of Christian Compassion was celebrating 42 years, and church leader Brandon Mclean said their focus is to build up the community.
"We have a compassion connect building that we’re currently building right now," Mclean said. "We have a food distribution center that we’re currently building right next to the church."
David Gould, the Chief Diversity & Impact Officer for the 76ers, talked about an even bigger project - the proposed construction of a new arena for the Sixers on Market Street.
"What I’m very grateful for and what I’m grateful for the position God has put me in is I have a seat at the table now, Amen," Gould said. "I want you to know that because I have a seat you all have a seat as well, Amen."
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Gould discussed how the proposed arena is being designed to benefit the African American community through jobs and training programs.
"We want to do this project the right way," said Gould. "Part of that is really making sure that businesses and workers from across the city especially from communities of color are in a position to benefit from that. Over the weeks and month we will be detailing the plans we are putting in place to make sure that happens."
The Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation opposed the arena in a statement saying they conducted over 230 surveys that showed over 93 percent of business owners, residents, and owners oppose the arena.
"The top concerns regarding the proposed arena include the deterioration of Chinatown culture, parking and traffic congestion, as well as increasing rent and displacement," the statement said.
People in the church community said they are on the fence about the proposal, but like the idea of job creation and the effort to hear from the community.
"Either way it’s a win-win situation," said Markeeda Mclean. "As he stated that area between 10th and 8th right now is kinda vacant. To spruce up our city it’s a win-win."
If the proposal is approved the plan is to start in 2027.