Penn Praxis, the academic group asked by Mayor Nutter last month to study whether two proposed riverfront casinos fit into the city's plans to redevelop the banks of the Delaware River, gets to work on that task tonight. The group, part of the University of Pennsylvania's School of Design, will hold a working dinner with a group of five experts trying to answer this question: "Do the casinos as currently designed comply with the goals, values and principals of the Civic Vision?"
To the casino developers, that's a rigged game. Foxwoods in South Philly and SugarHouse in Fishtown have refused to participate, citing comments from Penn Praxis executive director Harris Steinberg and Nutter last month that were very critical of the casino plans. Steinberg notes that he has never said casinos can't exist on the riverfront, just that they don't fit as they are currently designed. The Penn Praxis study continues tomorrow and Thursday.
Nutter has embraced the Penn Praxis vision for the waterfront and hopes to radically change the Penn's Landing Corp., a secretive non-profit set up by Philadelphia to manage city-owned land along the riverfront. Following through on his plan to convert the agency into an "open, transparent and accountable waterfront manager," Nutter issued a call today for people interested in serving on its board. The agency is being renamed the Delaware Waterfront Corporation and expanding its focus to the riverfront from Allegheny Avenue to the north to Oregon Avenue to the south.
Anyone interested in applying to serve on the board can email DelawareWaterfront@phila.gov or send an application to the Mayor's Office, care of Katherine Gajewski, City Hall, Room 204, Philadelphia, PA, 19107.