Chris Brennan is out at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Sugarhouse casino, at Delaware Avenue at Shackamaxon Street in Fishtown. And he reports that the anti-casino movement is out in force. The groundbreaking is a private event, but the protesters are about 30 yards away, causing a ruckus with bullhorns.
A banner plane is circling overhead with a message that says "Crime, poverty, addiction...jackpot" About 50 protesters are waving signs and chanting: "Our city our say, no casino no way."
Casino investor Dick Sprague waved to the protesters as he was driven onto the sight. "They put up a good fight," Sprague said later of the activists.
Councilman Frank DiCicco, who fought the casino development, told the crowd; "I've been standing in the way of this project for far too long."
The investors clapped while protesters chanted: "shame on you."
Mayor Nutter, another former SugarHouse foe, said he and lead investor Neil Bluhm told each other off several times.
"It wasn't always easy," Nutter said. "It wasn't always pretty. But we ended up in the right place,"