History repeats itself for casinos

Regardless of whether Gov. Rendell, Mayor Nutter, or anyone else wants to move the Foxwoods or SugarHouse casinos off the Delaware River, on paper the casinos have clearance from the state Supreme Court to build.

And then there are those pesky historical artifacts....

With SugarHouse already deep into a second-round of archaeological digs on its site in Fishtown/Northern Liberties -- which is holding up permitting from the Army Corps of Engineers --Heard in the Hall now reveals that Foxwoods may be headed down the same delay-laden route on its site in Pennsport.

The required archaeological survey produced for Foxwoods by Richard Grubb & Associates of Allentown found 1,133 artifacts which could indicate "potentially significant archaeological resources dating from an important period in Philadelphia's industrial development," according to a copy of the report obtained by The Inquirer.

Grubb recommends further excavation on 34 out of 65 trenches it dug for the report. The site was not occupied until the mid-1800s, according to the survey. Older potsherds and ceramics found on the site would have been part of debris used to fill in the land along the Delaware.

The presence of artifacts at each site is not expected to stand in the way of development; only delay it as artifacts are collected, catalogued and hauled away. And delay has been the casino opponents' best weapon to date. Foxwoods spokeswoman Maureen Garrity said the casino is "gearing up" for Phase II of the dig, but did not know yet when the work would begin.