With the Democratic National Convention and an attendant influx of protesters a week away, the city is suggesting businesses bring in loose planters, take down flags, and secure commercial dumpsters "to avoid misappropriation by demonstrators."
The city expects 35,000 to 50,000 protesters daily during the July 25-28 convention. Anticipated gathering spots include FDR Park, Marconi Plaza, Independence Mall, City Hall, and the Municipal Services Building.
Marches are planned down Broad Street and Market Street.
Simultaneously, Philadelphia is rolling out a literal multicolored carpet for visitors and delegates and hosting four days of live music along Broad Street. The Mural Arts project will debut a mile-long canvas on the Broad Street median.
The convention host committee, with an $80,000 grant from the Knight Foundation, will line Broad Street from Arch to Washington Streets with seven street-level pop-up spaces featuring musical performances and art displays from noon to 6 p.m. each day of the week.
At least four protests are planned down Broad Street during the same time. Organizers say artists and musicians will be instructed to halt when demonstrators come by.
"We're not going to play over protesters," said Paul Beideman, president of the Avenue of the Arts. "That doesn't get anyone anywhere."
Jane Golden, executive director of the Mural Arts program, said the sight of people marching on public art is kind of the whole point - though her group will be on hand to repair any destruction or graffiti.
"That's part of our Democratic process," Golden said. "I expect it to happen and I'm excited to see how it unfolds."
The suggestion that flags be removed concerned some members of the Union League. The exclusive Republican club on Broad Street has flown Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and Union League flags over its entrance for more than 100 years.
As of now the flags will fly, said Jeff McFadden, general manager of the League. They could be brought inside should the protests get too intense, he said.
"We want to be engaging even though we're a Republican stronghold," he said. "Hopefully demonstrators will be peaceful and nice and not be wreaking havoc. But we'll operate like normal. If the city says there's massive protests and there's issues then you take precautions to protect your property."
McFadden says the League took the flags down during the Phillies' World Series parade in 2008, when store windows along Broad Street were smashed and huge planters were flipped over.
Despite the city's warnings, "we're not saying stay inside and stay away," said Tiffany Newmuis, deputy chief of staff for the convention's host committee. "Demonstration is a part of any type of convention like this. But the police have the intention of keeping things safe and we, as the host committee, have the intention of keeping things fun and delegates' experience exciting."