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Proposal For New 76ers Arena At Penn's Landing Earning Support From Local African-American Organizations

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- A proposed new arena for the 76ers is earning the support of some important African American organizations in the region. The Urban League of Philadelphia, the Urban Affairs Coalition, the Black Clergy of Philadelphia and the African-American Chamber of Commerce all support the idea.

They say a new arena to be built at Penn's Landing would bring unprecedented economic opportunity for Black and brown communities.

The organizations say the arena would also be a way to help jumpstart the region's long-term economic outlook coming out of the pandemic.

Last week, CBS3 learned details on the Sixers' plans to build an arena along Penn's Landing. A source tells Eyewitness News the targeted location would be along the river between Market and Chestnut Streets. That's the land that's occupied right now by the Blue Cross River Rink.

The Sixers say, along with a state-of-the-art arena and thousands of new jobs, the team would also commit to revitalizing the area by building a new school and an African American museum.

The plan has been submitted to city officials.

The Sixers' lease with the Wells Fargo Center isn't up until 2031 so the process may take a while.

There have been mixed emotions surrounding the proposal.

Some on City Council are already voicing their opposition if any public money is used for a new Sixers' facility.

"To me, the last thing we need is another publicly-funded sports stadium boondoggle, which is literally from an economics-for-dummies playbook back in the mid-1990s. We should be banishing those types of ideas," Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym said.

Gym took to Twitter to voice her opposition to the proposal that would use any taxpayer money.

"This is a HELL NO. #priorities," Gym tweeted. "In the nexus of sheer misery that we are in as a city – mass unemployment, evictions looming, kids out of schools and people sick and dying – billionaire investors looking for a tax handout ranks about ….. NOWHERE."

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