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.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lanta has clearly stated that the success of center city main streets


Could you show us where LANTA said that?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:14, i attended several lanta board meetings on behalf of the hamilton street merchants. they repeatedly defended removing the transfer stops by saying their mandate was transportation, not enhancing business for any particular set of merchants. these meetings received some press coverage, not much. if that particular statement appeared in print i don't know, or care, but it was said.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Mike, it seems that Easton is trying to emulate Allentown with this move. I know the money and structures may seem great now, but the people and the small businesses are the ones left with the collateral damage. Hamilton Street hasn't been the same since the LANTA busses left. It is almost desolate in the mornings and late afternoons. The City's Economic Development crew are, obviously, having a hard time replacing businesses that were lost in the process. I hope while Easton is taking pages from Allentown's playbook, they are actually taking time to read the notes...

Alfonso Todd
www.gsands.jimdo.com