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June 28, 2010
Philly soccer team debuts new stadium amid dusk-to-dawn curfew
The Philadelphia Union opened their new stadium in Chester yesterday, and by most accounts a fun time was had by all.
As for what Chester itself is getting for its $77 million in public funding (split between the state and county), opening day didn't provide much positive evidence:
Obert Burchell runs a small Jamaican jerk chicken restaurant on Route 291, not far from the new soccer stadium. On Sunday his place was empty. He says business has been dropping for two weeks.
"Very dramatically man," says Burchell. "All we do here is play cards. Food on the stove — nobody come in to buy."
Of course, it doesn't help that half the city is under a 9-p.m.-to-6-a.m. curfew after a series of shootings earlier this month. A curfew that, despite what many residents believe, Chester's mayor insists has nothing at all to do with making visitors to the new soccer stadium feel safe.
I was surprised, at least, when I was watching the game yesterday to hear the ESPN commentators mention the recent murder spree. They failed to mention the curfew, however, and they spent the majority of the match - repeatedly - talking about how soccer (and the stadium) will rejuvenate the area.
Chester is under a state of emergency, which will last at least through July 23. The curfew falls under the emergency proclamation.
You have to give the soccer fans a little bit of time to determine the options available in the area. I'm sure most were heading to Chester for the first time.
When the Home Depot Center opened in Carson here in California, it was a similar thing. Nobody knew the area or where to stop. In the 5 years since I've certainly hit up local establishments as I became familiar with them and the area.
That said, I don't think there was a recent murder spree in Carson since the stadium opened there.
Nice stadium, but no roof. Seriously though..... Chester ???? Worse than Camden ??