Nov 20, 2009
Penny Wise, Grant Foolish
When the monster, aka Allentown Parking Authority, tutored Lanta about grants, they destroyed Hamilton Street in the process. Lanta was able to harvest a federal grant and provide the last portion of the financing necessary to built the terminal/parking deck at 6th and Linden Streets in Allentown. The first level store spaces were to be rented out to upscale stores, such as a woman's boutique or a private winery outlet. Hamilton Street merchants, viable if not glamorous, suffered a 40% reduction in business from losing the bus transfer stops. Save for a donut shop paying one dollar a year, the terminal retail space remains vacant. (The monster is moving it's office there)
Lanta has now joined forces with Easton's Mayor Panto to duplicate the success there. There is a grant that neither Panto or Lanta has the wisdom to leave on the table. Easton's deck will be built three and half blocks from Center Square, where the transfers now occur. Although no boutique or vineyard is being promoted, Mayor Sal (Panto) has announced that the High School Sports Hall of Fame Museum will anchor the transportation hub. Lanta has clearly stated that the success of center city main streets is not their concern, but Panto should know better. I suggest the Mayor drive over to Allentown and speak with the Hamilton Street merchants about the consequences of losing the bus transfer stops.