Saturday's Morning Call, presented a story* outling a grant program designed "to help people at least give you a second look", according to Mayor Pawlowski. The truth is Pawlowski uses our money as the gift that keeps on giving. Two of the seven are restaurants which have received substantial aid from other city programs. Three are small startups which occupy space which appears to be owned or handled by the same realtor. One recipient, New York Urban, was a successful clothes retailer who opened a second shop. The city claims if the businesses stay open less than five years, they will try to recoup the money through liens; but only one of the seven is not a tenant, so that claim is baseless. Three of the shops have recently had their facade redone in an identical finish. Did we pay to remodel the building with facade grants and then provide tenants with these business grants? Coincidence or shenanigan? Talking of shenanigans, I must mention Pawlowski's peek-a-boo and hide-a-fund system**. One receiver of these new grants is Johnny Manana's. Yes, it's the same place that has been receiving grants since before Pawlowski was mayor. This joke is located in a KOZ and already pays no taxes. It was given a special low cost city sponsored liquor license. It appears this latest grant, $50,000, was virtually blackmail to open up, so our agency leaders could crow about how wonderful are their accomplishments. Another $50,000 went to the Cosmopolitan, not yet built, but named. The owner received the location for one dollar, the previous building was torn down at our expense, and of course he received the customary city discounted liquor license. I could say a few more things,but I will be polite. Some of the small shops, the ones with the redwood fronts, you better visit quickly. When the grant for their rent is up, so will they.
Vickey's Sweet Spot 621 Hamilton St. $11,190
New York Urban 740 Hamilton St. $19,366
Total Office Solutions 915 Hamilton St. $20,000
Wireless & Beyond 965 Hamilton St. $20,000
Ileanette's Beauty Salon 913 Hamilton St. $20,000
Johnny Manana's 835 Hamilton St. $50,000
Cosmopolitan 18 N. Sixth St. $50,000
UPDATE:" Pawlowski said some of the remaining money ($155,000) could be used to promote existing restaurants"
**Allentown Economic and Development Corporation,Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Authority, Allentown Redevelopment Authority
ADDENDUM: Since I wrote this post two years ago, both Vickey's Sweet Spot and Johnny Manana's have gone out of business. The Morning Call now reports that Pawlowski hopes to set up another recipient, a sports bar, in the Manana spot.
reprinted from May 11, 2008