The Philadelphia Suns, a Chinatown-based youth basketball league, is holding its 42nd annual fundraiser next Saturday, October 18. The fundraiser, usually located in a Chinatown restaurant, has helped sustain and expand the organization throughout its history. This year the proceeds will go towards the construction of the the Eastern Tower Community Center.
Eastern Tower is an ambitious community development project by the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) that is set to be built on 10th Street just north of the Vine Street Expressway. The plan is to build a community center that includes mixed-income housing, office, retail, community space, and a basketball court for the Philadelphia Suns.
PCDC has touted the center as a chance to bring together the Chinatown community, which was split in half by the construction of the Vine Street Expressway (I-676) in the 1980s, and to address its shortage of affordable housing and community space.
For the Philadelphia Suns, the project will finally give the team a space for themselves. The Suns currently move between different recreation centers and university facilities, getting time when and where they can.
“The [Eastern Tower] represents a home court and a regular space for both basketball and growing other programs,” said Andy Toy, managing director for the development, in an email. “They will also be able to host national tournaments (there are national Chinese American leagues) without having to find gym time to pay for Drexel University or other venues.”
Eastern Tower has already received a number of large grants, totaling over $1 million, but is now seeking more broad based support through individual donations. The Philadelphia Suns fundraiser will contribute to this effort.
“There is a point of pride being able to develop this from within the community,” Toy added.-30-
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