On the northeast border of the Whitman neighborhood lies t Snyder Plaza and Columbus Commons, two shopping centers filled with a variety of stores such as Marshall’s, Lowes and Ikea. Restaurants like Champp’s and Longhorn Steakhouse share space with fast food stores including Wendy’s and Chick-fil-a.. However, most of the eastern border along Front Street is abandoned, littered with broken glass and over-grown plants.
With the exception of the shopping plaza at Snyder Avenue , most of Front Street is completely abandoned. PHL Local Gaming, LLC may acquire the gaming license available for the city and build a casino right outside the Whitman residential area, atop the unkempt blocks of Front Street.
The casino would include a hotel and gaming facility, slots and table games along with restaurants and a parking garage, according to the official Casino Revolution website. The Whitman Council, a neighborhood group, openly supports PHL Local Gaming and the construction of Casino Revolution.
Frank Martino, a longtime resident of the area, said he doesn’t oppose it.
“It’s just an abandoned lot,” Martino said. “Building a casino won’t make it any worse. At least it will bring more jobs to the neighborhood.”
Lauren Hughes, a Bigler Street resident, agrees.
“The area looks so run down, a casino will not only help clean up the neighborhood but it will bring people here. It could make money, produce jobs and give everyone a source of entertainment. I don’t understand why anyone would have a problem with it.”
The Whitman Council and PHL Local Gaming worked together last April when PHL announced its Special Services District, which serves parts of the Whitman community.