May 14, 2009

LANTA Mugs City


LANTA, with the consent of our city government, is preparing to once again mug the citizens of Allentown by tearing down Bicentennial Park. Yesterday, the son's of the current stadium's founder, Earl F. Hunsicker, pleaded with the Lanta Board to spare the iconic ballfield. I doubt if they knew that among those unsympathetic eyes staring back was Peter Schweyer, Allentown City Councilman and establishment up and comer. I doubt if the Hunsicker son's know that less than two years ago the same board threw the Hamilton Street merchants under the bus to justify their new terminal. Although Dan Hartzell, The Morning Call's Road Warrior, wrote a story today, the Hunsickers should not expect much more coverage. Hartzell is dependent upon the transportation czars, both Lanta and Penndot, for material for his column, and he doesn't bite their hand. Perhaps the Hunsickers will get some late lip service from Tony Phillips. When Tony finally submits his contribution list, it will reveal most of the support came from the Hamilton Street merchants, although Tony wasn't there when it counted to help them. Lanta essentially wants the field to build a garage for hybrid buses, how green of them!

Bicentennial Park is virtually the history of baseball in Allentown. First opened in 1939 as Fairview Field, it was home to the minor league team of the Boston Braves; The Allentown Dukes played there through 1948, when Breadon Field was built in Whitehall, site now of the Lehigh Valley Mall. Over the years thousands of Allentown kids had the yearly thrill of playing "Under The Lights". In addition to hosting the Allentown Ambassadors, it currently serves women's fast pitch softball.

In addition to the outrage in our park system, I will be adding the ballfield as a topic in my upcoming SPEAK OUT ALLENTOWN MEETING. If there is someone else I forgot to offend, please let me know...

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why won't LANTA move to an industrial park? Lots of companies have closed and there are acres of facility space available. LANTA absolutely would qualify for stimulus funding to relocate to a more appropriate place. Imagine the fumes these buses emit as they come and go from that Bicentennial site that is feet from homeowners. The founder's sons need to contact national TV and baseball home of fame officials. They need to bring national awareness to this issue.
This is a chance for Allentown’s mayor to step up to the plate and hit a home run and save this park for local activities. Where is he?

Anonymous said...

You wrote: "Peter Sweyer, Allentown City Councilman and establishment up and comer."

And Jennifer Mann's legislative assistant.

michael molovinsky said...

the mayor is part and parcel of these plans, just as he was with removing the bus transfer stops off of hamilton street. he will take credit when something is popular, but say it was their decision (lanta, parking authority, this or that) when there is some public outcry

Anonymous said...

8:34: Must agree. With all the city's violence, have yet to see the mayor stand on a street corner asking fellow residents to stand tall and march against crime. Still waiting.

Anonymous said...

Plan to attend your meeting. Keep us posted.

LVCI said...

Short & long of it... Allentown is prone to destroy it's past. Hess's, Colonial, Rialto, LVRR station, etc.

They would have stood as reminders of a city that once was. This way you only have the old timer's word and not hard evidence that Allentown's best days are behind us now.

Anonymous said...

The 7th Street bus terminal is an awful site. Empty concrete space in the most prominent spot in town.

Anonymous said...

"Short & long of it... Allentown is prone to destroy it's past. Hess's, Colonial, Rialto, LVRR station, etc.

They would have stood as reminders of a city that once was. This way you only have the old timer's word and not hard evidence that Allentown's best days are behind us now."

In the past, I would have said this was just conspiracy theory rhetoric, but the more I look around and see how Allentown seems to be getting dismantled piece by piece, maybe you are right....

- Alfonsp Todd

Andrew Kleiner said...

That is terrible. Let me know when your meeting is.

LANTA isn't even viable, useful public transportation, which Allentown very much needs.

Anonymous said...

The distruction of the ball field does indicate a terrible trend in the city. If volunteers spend their time and money to build a facility, it will never be an accepted "landmark". Only that which is a government facility has any expectation to "last".
All volunteers for any effort such as the ballpark, you better find a way to "own" it and land that it is built on.
Bob Romancheck

Anonymous said...

According to local news reports, not confirmed, the Scott Chrysler dealership on Lehigh St. is to close. Sad to hear this, but this site so close to Bicentennial Park could easily be transformed into an additional LANTA bus storage facility. It has excellent office space and is in mint, move-in condition.

Anonymous said...

- Alfonso Todd - Wish you'd run for city council.

Dick Nepon said...

I have suggested that the city ought to be working with LANTA to find them a new and better location, not within a neighborhood of families and residencies. Then, we could expand the park, and expand LANTA, and help the City at the same time. There are several choice locations, including a few Mack Trucks owned properties that would make excellent locations and not disturb any neighborhoods or parks.

But the administration isn't interested in any ideas not from with-in, and paid for as consultancies.

This is a do-able plan, and needs some political support before it is too late.

We need to look for solutions, not excuses. That is why I am running for Mayor, among other reasons.

michael molovinsky said...

dick, perhaps it would have been more effective for you to go to the lanta meeting yesterday, rather than campaigning here today. reminds me of phillips, after i organized a public meeting, and two protests at lanta headquarters, tony asked the merchants for contributions to his campaign, although he did nothing for the merchants. if you lose tuesday, you're welcome to speak at my next meeting and present your idea's, if you're still interested in these issues

Anonymous said...

If Lanta and the city spent money to purchase a new facility for the buses and expand the stadium everyone would be complaining these entities are wasting money when we already have a brand new ballfield here in town.

Sure it is a nice park (not that nice) but it isn't exactly fiscally prudent to keep it up and running just because a small number of people have some nice memories there.

Honestly, I've lived in Allentown 27 years, played baseball for 8, and have only been in the place once.

atown-liker said...

this seems stupid from every angle

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why won't LANTA move to an industrial park?

That makes too much sense.

LANTA should be located in one of the parks around Bethlehem, the geographic center of the Lehigh Valley. Preferrably, in a northern park, with access to Rt. 22. A terrific location might be at 22 and Schoenersville Rd. Isn't there a vacant parcel at the northwest corner of the intersection? Imagine immediate access to 22 (east- west) and 378 (south). That Allentown location never made much sense to me, especially if LANTA wants to truly be a regional service.


VOR

Anonymous said...

TO: Anon. 5-16-09 / 6:26 pm

Yes, your comments were stupid.
I've noticed that such mind-numbing comments seem to be typical of people who just 'showed up on Allentown's doorstep' in recent years. The person obviously came here from an 'impoverished' area (not necessarilly economic) and has low standards and expectations... the person's 'impoverishment' is from having never had exposure to a certain higher level of a living environment... ie. what an excellent All-American City (Allentown in the early 1960's) this place was before 'this economic refugee' ever got here.

This person is another example of what the city has stacked up against it.

Anonymous said...

VOR. Perhaps the LANTA location never made sense to you because you don't know its history. That facility has been the hub of LV transportation for about one hundred years...those long aisles that the buses are stored in overnight used to be tracks for LV Transit Trolleys. The 8th ST. Bridge was built as a shortcut to get Gen Trexler's trolly system to his power company...a predecessor to PPL. But what would we know...we're too busy teach kids in our schools how to apply condoms. No time for history.

AuH2o said...

Like all public transit companies in the country Lanta is heavily subsidized by taxpayers. Just keep that in mind as you suggest they build a $40 or $50 million dollar replacement depot and maintenance building. Be careful what you wish for.

michael molovinsky said...

lanta and bicentennial have coexisted on that space for over 70 years. before lanta it was the trolley yard, before bicentennial it was fairview field. there is room for a hybrid garage on the lanta yard space, if not, that particular garage only, could be off site. lanta operated until last year without it's terminal at 6th and linden, and served allentown better without it. in the same-way, lanta is anxious to throw the
merchants under the bus to harvest a $4 million grant in easton. i'm tired of their bluffs and ultimatums.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"VOR. Perhaps the LANTA location never made sense to you because you don't know its history. That facility has been the hub of LV transportation for about one hundred years...those long aisles that the buses are stored in overnight used to be tracks for LV Transit Trolleys. The 8th ST. Bridge was built as a shortcut to get Gen Trexler's trolly system to his power company..."

Thanks for the history lesson, but that's the problem in Allentown (or one of many). General Trexler? Trolley days? Before PPL? Holy Crap! What's that got to do with here and now? Are you suggesting we accept gridlock because some people wish to remember the way things used to be?

If there is a city that cannot afford to be stuck in neutral, it's Allentown! Everything you said is true, but irrelevant. If that was a great location back in the 1920's, fine, I accept that. But it is not 1925 - we are well into the 21st century. New ideas and new direction is necessary. This transit system is regional and is supposed to serve a base of 800,000 in an area ranging from Carbon County to South Mountain, from the Berks County line to the Delaware and you feel the main transit system should be headquartered on an inappropriately small parcel in a non-centralized overall location, because "it was a good location in the past".

No wonder Allentown is in trouble.

VOR

michael molovinsky said...

vor, don't know if you have ever been to the lanta yard, it is enormous. the old trolley/train system was also intercity, and coexisted with the ballpark. there may be more of an agenda there than known, that was certainly the case with the city/parking authority/lanta terminal at 6th and linden. it was designed to take the bus people off of hamilton. hope you can attend tomorrow and present your views. thanks

Anonymous said...

Michael-

I "Googled" the area and pulled up a satellite image. It gave me a nice overview, even though I was somewhat familiar with the area. (I live in Bethlehem). You're correct, it is a fairly large area, but I still think that the transit headquarters belongs in an area more "central" to its coverage area. I also feel that LANTA is not nearly as robust as it could (should) be. People I talk to who come from other areas and are familiar with public transit tell me that LANTA does not provide enough service, to as large an area as it needs to. The LV has expanded outward from the central cities in each direction. LANTA operates as though this was 1953 and the main concentration of population is still Allentown/Bethlehem and their downtowns were center of this universe.

LANTA is stagnant. It is time for LANTA to expand to adequately serve the third largest metropolitan area in the state.

VOR