By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Amid talk that Pope Francis could visit Philadelphia next year and discussion of whether the city should host a political convention again, City Council plans a hearing on whether the city and region are up to the task of hosting such mega-events.
Mayor Michael Nutter, Governor Tom Corbett and Archbishop Charles Chaput are leaving Sunday for the Vatican to discuss next year’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, with some wondering if the Pope would attend.
At the same time, the city has indicated a willingness to hose the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
In light of all of this, Eighth District Council member Cindy Bass is scheduling a council hearing about Philadelphia’s readiness to host such global events.
“Let’s start talking about those things,” Bass says. “Let’s talks about how many more hotels do we have since the last convention, how many more beds do we have? How many will we need to host the Olympics, or the DNC, or the papal visit, or any of the other things that we’d like to see here in Philadelphia?”
Among those other things that Bass would like to discuss is having Philadelphia host the Super Bowl, as North Jersey did this year. She points out that beyond the glamour, there’s big bucks.
“If you look at the London Olympics, I think the benefit was about $16 billion to the city of London,” she says. “Why can’t we have that here? We can have it here.”
Of course, Philadelphia has already shown it can host a political convention, as Republicans convened here in 2000. Bass says that proved to be a positive lesson.
“We got rave reviews,” she says. “Philadelphia did a wonderful job. And we can do this again.”
No date has been set yet for her hearing.