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Made In America Festival Pushes On Despite Historic Flooding, 'Frustrated' Neighbors

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The devastation from the remnants of Hurricane Ida has slowed, but not stalled, preparations for this weekend's Made In America festival.

Residents at Park Towne Place near the site of the festival are still reeling from Wednesday's storms. Crews continue to pump water out of apartments and families find other places to stay. West Philadelphia High School is currently a shelter for those who may need to be out of their homes for a week.

Brooke Bayer's home is still flooded. She told CBS3 seeing the festival still going on makes her frustrated.

"The festival feels super tone-deaf. Between COVID and the flooding, no one here is excited about Made in America," she said.

She is not the only resident who is upset with the concert. Stephanie Nekoroski isn't thrilled either.

"It's frustrating that this concert is still going on. It's like given the circumstances, and the limited access," she said.

"We had serious flooding," Logan Square Neighborhood Association President Dennis Boylan said.

Boylan says cleanup is already difficult and the two-day concert isn't helping.

"It restricted traffic and made everything, especially with Vine Street being a canal, made everything much more difficult to move around," he said. "On one hand, you have people who are bailing out their basements, mud all the place. But right here it's a different story."

Despite the flooding, crews are putting the final touches on the stages for this weekend ahead of what's expected to be a big influx of people. Mayor Jim Kenney said the city can handle both the concert and the cleanup.

"There have been commitments made, tickets sold," Mayor Kenney said. "We can do two things at once, and I think it's good for the city to have this kind of event so we can celebrate a little bit even in midst of potential tragedy."

In agreement with the mayor, the festival's spokesperson says: "Since inception, the festival has brought in more than $135 million in revenue for the city. We're employing thousands of Philadelphians and hosting over 75 local food vendors and organizations."

"I don't know that it would have done any good to cancel it," resident Lauren Meltzer said.

Meanwhile, the mayor is encouraging everyone to use public transportation. SEPTA has added additional late-night trains Saturday and Sunday.

Boylan says many of his association members aren't worried about the concert. They're concerned about their homes.

"They need to get insurance adjusters, the remediation teams. So how well will traffic work tomorrow is the real question," Boylan said.

The concert is keeping COVID in mind, with organizers teaming up with CLEAR health pass to guarantee proper health checks. Attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 48 hours of entry.

Some are looking forward to a distraction from the horrific weather earlier this week.

"It's a beautiful weekend now, so I'm hoping we'll get the chance to swing by and check it out, but also very hopeful everyone gets the assistance they need in the area," Greg Amusu of Northern Liberties said.

Numerous acts are expected this weekend, including Justin Bieber, Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

For more information on CLEAR health pass, click here

CBS3's Alecia Reid and Wakisha Bailey contributed to this report.
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