If you build it, they will come.
That was part of the message at a news conference yesterday at the site of the President's House and slave quarters, on 6th and Market streets, a project three years in the making and now $1.4 million short of its construction goal.
The project will commemorate the nine slaves who toiled for President George Washington when he lived in Philadelphia from 1790 to 1794, and also will mark President John Adams' time there after Washington.
Mayor Nutter joined U.S. Reps. Bob Brady and Chaka Fattah; Michael Coard, founding member of the Avenging the Ancestors Coalition, and Cynthia MacLeod, superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, in announcing a fundraiser to begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the National Constitution Center, across the street from the President's House site. Tickets range from $500 to $1 million.
Both Brady and Fattah have supported the project from the outset, securing $3.5 million. The project will cost $8.8 million, with the opening scheduled for fall 2010.
"Endowing this project is crucially important," Fattah said. "There is not a more significant project anywhere, and it also has an economical impact, as it will bring more tourists" to Philadelphia.
"You hear the mayor and congressmen talking about it, and it's not political posturing," Coard said. "I've been excited about it since the beginning, but I'm more excited now that the administration is behind it.