Dec 30, 2008

The Greed of Grants


Easton Mayor Sal Panto finally pulled his support of the Riverwalk Project, publicly admitting it was a useless project, yet he still wants to utilize the grant in a new location he deems less useless? Now instead of building a parking garage and Lanta terminal four blocks from the shopping district, he will duplicate Allentown, and build it only one block from the stores. Never mind there is no shortage of parking on Northampton Street, Sal can't stand the idea of losing a grant from the Joint River Bridge Authority. In Allentown we couldn't stand losing a grant from the Federal Transportation Department, never mind it destroyed the viability of the Hamilton Street merchants. Lanta officials and city officials in both cities talked of reducing congestion on the main streets, never mind that there was no congestion. Like a consumer with a coupon for something he doesn't need, our elected officials cannot comprehend that there are grants we would be better off not receiving. Greenwich, Connecticut, a beautiful community north of NYC, has a unusual community development policy; they do not accept HUD grants, not much future for bureaucrats there! The Hispanic business community on Allentown's 7th Street suffered a unnecessary disruption of parking and business this fall, as the city once again dug up the sidewalks to install new wiring for improved street lights, courtesy of a "grant". The merchants are rightfully wondering why the new lights ended up identical to the old ones. When grants are utilized, and at the end of the project there is no benefit, but on the contrary, unintended consequences, what's the point? We have become the victims of over planning, to use unnecessary grants, squandering our money, so our elected officials can blabber about progress.

7 comments:

IRONPIGPEN said...

I think your 'overplanning' and the 'need to make it look like I'm doing something' points say it all.

The guy who thought up moving the buses off of Hamilton Street should be the next dude featured in the Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" commercial.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'll agree that the original plan for Riverwalk was a fiasco. The current plan is actually located close to existing businesses and is in an area already frequented by pedestrians and bus riders. I don't think the situation is analogous to Allentown, but I need more information. You have proven to be unusually prescient when it comes to this sort of thing.

Chris Casey said...

Evening Mike! Can't say I'm surprised about the addiction to "FREE" money. I can't blame these guys for getting in line, but the only way to stop it is to expose the folly.

Gene said...

Are you being fair? Our cities are so cash-strapped, isn't it good for them to get funding wherever they can?

michael molovinsky said...

Gene, if spending the money damages the city, what was gained? in allentown the new lanta terminal virtually destroyed the merchants on hamilton, where the taxpayers have invested countless millions over the years. remember putting up the canopies, remember taking them down? remember reconfiguring the parking spaces about ten times? now 15 months after opening the terminal, there are more vacancies on hamilton than ever! ever wonder why there is a useless, traffic slowing stoplight at 13th and chew, 8th and liberty? because we got a grant, a grant for something we would be better off not having.

Anonymous said...

The lights on 7th Are not identical to the old ones.

The new ones are not in place yet due to a manufactures error the city is forcing them to fix after a few were installed (and subsequently removed to fix the error).

michael molovinsky said...

anon 6:37, i know all about the "error" , and i photographed the new lights and the old lights. glad there being shortened, i won't go into details, your welcome!