I've always maintained that the City Planners couldn't organize a children's birthday party, much less real urban planning. I have evidence to make my point. Take 7th Street for example. Those familiar with that venue know how many times the city has changed the bricks, sidewalks and street lights. The Hispanic business district that developed there was in spite of the city, not because of it. When I attended a meeting with Allentown's new Community Development Director, Sarah Hailstone, and the affected merchants of the hockey arena, I snickered when she said that the city would help the merchants. I actually uttered my birthday party line. Olgie Moreno-Prosper, of New Generation Learning Center, is finding out exactly how helpful the City can be. She has 13 years invested in her current location. Her application to move her daycare center to another location has been denied by city zoning. Allentown's a small place. The zoning board member who spoke against her center, because of traffic concerns, is well connected with the city. His wife is on the Allentown Parking Authority. The Authority is allowed to rent space for a daycare center in the bottom of their parking deck on Linden Street (the old Hess Brothers Deck), with an entrance on the corner of the alley which runs under the deck. Between the traffic and fumes, what could be a worse location than that? Gotta love Allentown.
A comment placed on The Morning Call website, about the article, pretty much sums up the mentality of both the City and many citizens against the displaced merchants.
FutureDowntownArenaAttendee at 1:09 AM July 14, 2011
"So they're telling us 'Take your little day care and move it out of the city of Allentown because we don't want it,' " she said Wednesday. "That's the message I got." (day care owner)
HEY HEY GOODBYE.
link to Morning Call article by Elizabeth Murphy, photograph by Kevin Mingora