Union arrives in a divided Chester
The Union will play their first MLS game Sunday in the glittering new PPL Park on Chester’s waterfront.
It’s likely the mood today – and Sunday – will be a bit more subdued in the city. Much of Chester is living under strict conditions imposed by Mayor Wendell Butler in calling a state of emergency. Yesterday City Council approved a measure to extend the limits on public gatherings for 30 days in the wake of an unprecedented four homicides in eight days.
The council vote was unanimous. The vote among citizens was not.
The council session was packed with residents who spoke both for and against a strict curfew that bars residents from being on the street from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. in five crime-riddled sections of the city. In addition, public gatherings are limited to three; more than that and you need a city permit.
It’s hard to argue with the immediate effects of the curfew. Gunfire, often a common occurrence on Chester streets once the sun goes down, has been all but non-existent since the crackdown went into effect.
But the curfew by itself is not going to cure what ails Chester. Neither will a nice new stadium and Major League soccer team.
The area where the stadium sits, on the waterfront under the Commodore Barry Bridge, falls outside the crackdown area.
It’s nice to welcome the Union and the swanky new stadium, in particular the jobs that go along with it.
We also look forward to a time when the city does not need a state of emergency to rid itself of the lawlessness that remains the scourge of so many of its residents.