Mar 4, 2011

The Revitalization of Allentown

This week Allentown was promised revitalization by no less than two ringmasters. The director of the Art Museum described the expansion and renovation of the museum as revitalizing Allentown. I'm happy for the wine and cheese crowd, but they would be lucky to improve one block of 5th street, much less the city. Of course our biggest revitalization was promised by our mayor, who is paying a stadium planner over a quarter $million dollars for his recommendations. There is nothing wrong with thinking big, if you do the small things along the way. Allentown failed to clean the streets curb to curb this long winter. Litter fills downtown gutters and covers the corner sewer grates. News of home invasions petrify honest taxpayers. Wine, cheese and even hockey cannot replace quality of life.


Local said...

Wasted salt, many days of canceled street cleaning, and little or no snow plowing is what Allentown citizens got this year.
The Allentown parking authority has still managed to to hammer residents with citations.
This is much worse than merely squandering city funds.
This amounts to the lining of many pockets for services not rendered.
The city once again survived a winter with few city services.
Are these non-existant city services even needed?
Call and ask about these things and you will get a rude response from most of our "public servants" - IF they even bother to return your call.

gary ledebur said...

I think the real issue here is not city services, museums and wasted money. The real issue is "Is there a viable future to Allentown?" The old guard complains about things not being like they used to be. The current leaders seem to be groping for ideas to revitalize the city. The rest of the citizens are just trying to get through each day.

The days of the queen city as a retail and manufacturing center are gone, gone forever. Some cities like Lancaster and Pittsburgh have been moderately successful in improving their cities. Others like Chester and Harrisburg have not.

If folks continue to blame each other, romanticize the past, and fail to pull together, the city will die. Perhaps not today, but in two generations, it will be gone, gone as we knew it.

michael molovinsky said...

gary, you keep repeating, post after post, pull together, this administration has enjoyed total domination of city council. not one proposal by this mayor has been rejected in two terms. save but for a few like myself, there isn't even discussion of the issues. as community development director before becoming mayor, he has been in charge now for over 8 years. although professional cheerleaders, paid by taxdollars, like zahorchak, talk of a revitalization, most of us see only litter.

Patrick McHenry said...

Gary -

There is no illusion that things could be the way they used to be. That is a progressive talking point designed to diminish the position of anyone who dares to question what the administration proposes.

What we see is a city that cannot even provide the BASIC services that it was designed to provide (public safety, clean streets, etc.).

Instead, we see a local government that tries to cover its ineptitude with over-hyped, government-funded projects that fail to solve the core problems of the city.

It is political sleight of hand, and it has been failing us for about a decade now.

Anonymous said...

Ledebur - Dude,

Your 'pull together' bullshit is VERY aggravating.

YOU don't even live anywhere near the freakin' city.

You don't work here. You don't pay taxes here. You can't vote here.

Your 'pull together' IS a bullshit tallking point designed to suppress opposition to failed Progressive Liberal Democrat ideology and policy.

Next, you will be lecturing about Civility, like Obama.

Screw you. Your loser ideology and policy has screwed enough of us.


Anonymous said...

Speaking about revitalization, Can any one tell a sub-layman what this all means?
From the City of Allentown agenda.

· To procure equipment for the data center facility that will be purchased and installed by the City, $190,000.00.

· Place funds in proper account to provide for the inter-fund transfer required – Communications Center, $21,184.97.

· Bulk Sewer consumption charges to City of Bethlehem for Club Avenue & Columbia Street and PA One Call System fees that exceeded encumbered amount – Department of Public Works/Engineering, $6,700.00

· Move funds into Personnel accounts which have negative balances – Public Works, $10,909.48.

· Move funds into line items which have negative balances – Parks & Recreation, $14,049.46.

· Move funds into Personnel line item accounts which have negative balances – Community & Economic Development, $34,510.36.

· Move funds into Premium Pay line item to cover negative balance – Police, $40,796.94.

· Move funds into Personnel account that has negative balances – Parks & Recreation, $40,742.97.

· Move funds into Personnel accounts which have negative balances – Public Works, $35,879.71.

· Move funds into Personnel line items which have negative balances – Finance, $656,160.97.

· Move funds into Personnel line items which have negative balances – Finance, $8,989.12.

· Move funds into Personnel line items which have negative balances – Parks and Recreation $6,718.65, $6,718.65.

· CAD Server Equipment budgeted in wrong account – Communications, $33,900.00.

· Several vacancies in this bureau have led to a surplus in the Permanent Wages account. These funds will now be used to supplement the Premium Pay account – Water Filtration, $25,000.00.

michael molovinsky said...

dear joe walnut street, gary represents a diversity of opinion. i want everyone to feel welcome expressing themselves here.

gary ledebur said...

Anon 12:05 --- A government budget is a best guess as to where charges and costs will be paid. After 9 months or so the business manager realizes he guessed wrong then gets approval to adjust the line items. It happens all the time.

Patrick McHenry --- it is regrettable that the elected officials, specifically council, ignores your input and "rubber stamps" the mayor. You need to run for council!

Joe Walnut Street --- I think you should be more civil in you comments. I sense you are working through some serious inadequacies. God bless you.

Tpowder said...

Folks, Allentown has a crime problem that nobody wants to recognize. Do you feel safe walking down Hamilton Street after dark?
I can walk down Mich. Ave. in Chicago at midnight or in downtown Boston without a care.
I'd NEVER want to be downtown in Allentown after dark. That problem has been there for years without anyone addressing it.

Neubie said...

"The real issue is "Is there a viable future to Allentown?"

There is a viable future for Allentown. The City government needs to step up to do it. They need to figure out the "grand plan" for the City. Is the City going to be a low-income poverty magnet (I like that one more and more Mike, thanks), are they going to try to go after the younger professional types, are they looking to make it an older community, or are they simply going to mix it up and have a diversified demographic.

Currently, the City is set up with the latter, not by intent, but by the way things fell. The City's policies are pushing more for the low-income and at times they throw out money to try to get the professionals but to no avail.

It would take some actual planning from our City Planning staff and our Mayor to come up with

I have a personal philosphy when it comes to such people (City staff & Mayor), just becaue you have a nice certificate that says you can do something, doesn't mean you can really do it (obviously, they can't regardless of their credentials). Nothing can replace real world knowledge.

The planning in City Hall needs to look at what the complaints are for each and address them. If current residents don't like being here, why in the world would you get more?

Allentown's current path is absolutely horrible. Before anyone jumps the gun on this one, this has nothing to do with party, I could care less, each has their own faults. The current and past administrations just keep telling people what they need and never bother to see the reality of what is actually needed, or what needs to be done to get there. As I like to put it, we are at point A, they are looking at point D, they aren't looking at points B and C to get them done.

Neubie said...

Let me ask everyone here one simple question.

When was the last time anyone from City Hall asked you what your concerns were? At least someone that could honestly help.

Anonymous said...

Before teachers take a freeze, the public should be aware of the expensive perks given to administrators in ASD. Dr. Z and Dr. Mayo have cars paid by the district. Also, top administrators have a 401k plan from the district, this is above and beyond their state pension.Last, all administrators have medical insurance paid for after they retire.

Anonymous said...

If someone has archival access to the Morning Call, they can find a 1980s front page Sunday edition photo of city residents working to clean up 7th Street. Twenty-five years later this street remains in pockets of utter disrepair! How many millions have gone into restoring this one street, a math Ph.D. will be needed to figure out. The not-so-smart folks like those who work day in, day out, can tell anyone willing to listen, tear down one center city block at a time, rebuild it with new energy saving materials and contemporary architectural designs and the city’s core will again begin to sparkle. Forget about a downtown arena for the time being, work on making the city brighter.

Anonymous said...

Currently, the City is set up with the latter, not by intent, but by the way things fell. The City's policies are pushing more for the low-income and at times they throw out money to try to get the professionals but to no avail.


Anonymous said...

"Move funds into Personnel accounts which have negative balances – Public Works, $10,909.48."

We know how to do this...marry wealthy.

gary ledebur said...

Very interesting and informative posts....

I am not an urban planner by any means but I have lived in Erie, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and of course Allentown. I found two directions that seem to help. One is to get behind the mayor and a clearly defined initiative he or she supports. it doesn't make much difference what it is as long as it is credible and capable of involving a broad slice of the community. It could be revitalizing the main street, it could be a new recreation area and sports complex, it could be simply making the city the cleanest city in the state. The importance here is that the community gets involved and energy and enthusiasm take hold.

The second direction for those of you who say that the mayor and city council are not capable of such leadership, and I do not doubt that is true, you have no other choice than to run for office, win and then lead Allentown to a better future!

Anonymous said...


Stop with the condescending attitude dude.

I really do not think it is appreciated, especially your cheap shot "issues" based jabs like the one thrown at JW.

You are starting to sound like a toned down version of "the one who cannot be named".


Anonymous said...

Allentown is a "welfare magnet" like most cities in the US. Cleaning up the city means throwing out the poor. Where will they go? They will just move to a different city and start the process over again. Eliminate welfare for the able bodied and reestablish a military draft. The cost of a draft would be much better than welfare that only perpetuates the problem. The military would offer a chance to learn a trade that will serve the draftee a better shot at a job for the future. We need tax payers, not tax consumers. We need educated people with a purpose in life, not parasites on the rest of us.
Of course, this would never happen. The Democrats would lose too many votes! Remember they "love and have compassion" for you!

Local said...

Well,... Tax paying citizens need not run for office to express happiness, concern, doubt, or outrage at the way elected officials spend our money and how they affect residents trying to call this place home.
Get behind any cockamamie scheme some clown dreams up?
It doesn't matter???
It certainly does matter.
Make Allentown the cleanest city?
good idea. If every teacher in every school in Allentown would start and end their classes by stating "do not litter", maybe the children attending allentown schools would at least learn something.
BUT- spend huge money, to disrupt and worsen what little life we have here until the project tanks (whichever comes first) is likely criminal.
AND Where is the mony flowing to?
The Allentown Parking Authority?
No returns there.
Friends of the administrators?
no returns their.
When an idea is bad, It needs to be recognized as such.

gary ledebur said...

Some have proposed mandatory universal service. One must devote 2 years to the military, peace corps or Americorps. I support this. However it will not address the issue of able-bodied men who are not working. First only women who have children are eligible for aid and then only for a couple of years. As to some posters who seem to only want to bitch--go ahead it it makes you feel good. Personal attacks on me are no problem. My grandmother taught me that "sticks and stones......."

Anonymous said...

Nah! Nah! Nah! Nah!

I go the last word in!

That is not what it is about Bully GL.

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Anonymous said...

I would consider mandatory military, but for military purposes only. Peach Corps and Americacorps doesn't build 'character'. They only develop liberals. I have never met an alum of the later two organiztions who was not a flaming lib. If the exaulted Peace Corps was even close to successful then half of Africa, etc. wouldn't still be peeing upstream from their drinking water.

Charlie said...


Anonymous said...

Making people responsible for themselves would help the city recover from poverty. That will never happen under Democrat control. Votes are more important. Welfare steals a person's self respect and vacates a person's dignity, the worst thing we can do. We all know this is true but refuse to admit being wrong about the people we put in office. There must be some reason the liberals keep voting for failure. Could it be greed or hate? Greed for wanting something for nothing or hate for the party that won't give us what we want. My, my, we are a sad bunch! No wonder the Democrats think we need to be taken care of and ruled by them, since we can't do what is right for ourselves AND others. Conservatives want us to be self reliant, Democrats want us to be reliant on them. It is no more complicated than that. So as the people go, the community goes, than the whole city goes. The proof is everywhere.