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Philadelphia Gets Two Days With Democratic National Committee To Seal The Deal On 2016 Convention

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Top Philadelphia Democrats will be pulling out the stops as they try to convince national party officials to hold the 2016 Democratic National Convention right here. (credit: Mike Dunn/KYW)

Top Philadelphia Democrats will be pulling out the stops as they try to convince national party officials to hold the 2016 Democratic National Convention right here. (credit: Mike Dunn/KYW)

Tim Jimenez Tim Jimenez
Tim Jimenez is a general assignment reporter at KYW Newsradio...
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By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Democratic National Committee finishes its two-day stay in New York City today as officials in the Big Apple try to bring the 2016 convention to town. But starting tomorrow, Philadelphia moves to center stage.

Philadelphia gets two days to show the DNC what it’s made of.

“We’re a big, beautiful complex city and there’s just so many stories to tell,” says Meryl Levitz, President and CEO of Visit Philadelphia.

Levitz says part of the big pitch is the city’s culture.

“One of the most exciting things though is really the blossoming of our neighborhoods,” she said.

And one of those communities is in South Philadelphia where there’s more than just cheesesteaks.

“It’s a small, intimate neighborhood feel. We have really fine dining,” says Renee Gilinger with the East Passyunk Avenue Business Improvement District.

Getting the convention would be a huge boost for a neighborhood like East Passyunk, Gilinger says. And she would know, she’s been to two conventions, including the DNC in 2008.

“I went to Denver for the convention and I went back a few years later and went back to some of the neighborhoods that I checked out during that time,” Gilinger said.

The last political convention in Philadelphia was for the Republicans in 2000.

“So that was 14 years ago so first I’ll say that we’re due and it’s time for us to host again,” said Julie Coker Graham, executive VP with the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, an integral part of the team making the pitch to DNC officials.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau plans on showcasing all the city has to offer.

“It’s the National Constitution Center, it’s the Barnes Foundation – so it’s all of those things and certainly the explosion of the restaurant scene that we’ve had,” Graham said.

Selling the area’s culture along with an expanded Convention Center and the Wells Fargo Center, seasoned from big events of the past, and ready for another one.

“We don’t take the competition lightly, but we know that Philadelphia is certainly the right choice for the DNC in 2016,” she said.

Columbus, Birmingham and Phoenix join Philadelphia and New York as finalists to host the convention.

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