Sep 8, 2011

Allentown's Future


Mayor Daddona's plan to save Allentown was the canopy built in front of the stores on Hamilton Street. Mayor Heydt's plan was tearing down the canopy in front of the stores. Mayor Pawlowski's plan is to tear down the stores and build an entertainment complex. Pawlowski's plan will eventually take three square blocks off the tax rolls. Already the first $100 million block has grown into a second block and another $100 million. Because of a rainy week, Steel Stack's Jeff Parks is walking around with a tin cup asking for donations. The Sands Corporation will be able to finance it's new entertainment complex with a money machine called a casino. When it rains on Pawlowski's white elephant, which it must from all the local competition alone, the short fall will come from our pockets. I'm not sure where Pawlowski will be then, but we're going to be up the creek, without a paddle, paying for huge, underused tax free buildings. There should have been a law, or a vote, or a City Council.

21 comments:

Local said...

we Allentonians are getting a constant and arrogant stream of lies from the mayors office.
Their propaganda machine is working over time with the MC and channel 69 sucking up to this foul scheme.
Just how many venues can the valley support?
Where, in this depressed economy, is all this money coming from?
What crowd will be coming to this arena with pockets full of money to save us all? Does Pullpudski have enough Hockey loving minions to fill an arena?
Is the answer for a crumbling infrastructure to throw money at an entertainment industry?
When were the public hearings?
The City council is holding a lip service style public forum about a bar on Lehigh St.... I don't suppose liquor will be served at hockey games?
This is truly convoluted thinking.

Anonymous said...

We need a banker to analyze this $200M loan in terms of monthly and yearly payments required to pay it back. Do newspaper accounts analyze the "real" expenses? The interest per month, per year?

Anonymous said...

Trying to get through Allentown during yesterday's flood was a lesson in stress management.
The only bridge from south side
that seemed usable was the 8th St. Bridge so streams of cars waited in a single line near Good Shepherd Hospital.
Basin Street--flooded
MLK JR. Drive flooded
15th Street Bridge lane closed into town.
It was an absolute nightmare to get to work.
And just to add a little more excitement, once drivers got across the 8th Street Bridge, they were welcomed by an accident (no injuries thank goodness) between a bus and at least one car. That took another 20 minutes.
And this is a city going to handle 15,000 visitors at once to a hockey game?

binzley said...

As you note MM, every mayor since Joe Daddona has pursued the dream of making center city economically viable. A hockey area is the latest in this fool's errand.

Perhaps we should be more creative--think outside the box for a change. Let's generate some ideas, boys and I think one lady.

Monkey Momma said...

Add to this the planned purchase of the waterfront property, which we read about in the Call yesterday. The administration says we'll get a grant for that $5 mill purchase, but the Corbett administration says that grant is "under review."

Pawlowski is running for a state-wide job, it's very clear, and Allentown is simply a bullet point on his resume. He is failing this town miserably.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

It is also far from clear to me how this new tax zone will effect tax revenues to the already cash strapped school district. This is an issue that demands clarity right now. Where is the school board on this? Where is the local media demanding answers?

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Form the real Allentown Ambassadors!
Economic recovery groups comprised of 10 residents per unit and each group pledges to bring in one small, medium, or large business to downtown.
Each group: totally volunteer. Each group: also pledges not a cent of personal financial gain for their efforts.
Each group to utilize business and community resources to delve into the business sector and create a marketing plan hard to refuse. Personal visits to corporations; hand written letters to Wall Street types; phone call and constant contact, till the answers are "yes."
This could work as long as the mayor and his buddies stay away.

michael molovinsky said...

despite binzley's well intentioned call for idea's, the real issue is the consequence of the current plans. the NIZ allows property tax to be used if there is a shortfall in sales and earned income tax to finance the new projects. there will be a shortfall, because ppl tower earned income is exempt from use. with the property taxes then going for the new venues, the three taxing entities must raise their millage to make up for the shortfall.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't take a fortune teller to devine just where this is going.
Daddona had nothing on these money squandering thugs.

Anonymous said...

I was informed this evening that the loss in tax revenues to the school district should be around $100,000.

This word came from the PFM rep who has been getting the financing together for the city.

Oh yes, they represent ASD as well. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

All seem to assume it is a 100% winner. Any lost tax revenues will soon be made up by revenues from all of the restaurants and other tax generating businesses that will thrive as a result of the Arena.

Who made that Kool Aide? No one connected with this project seems to think there is any downside at all.

So who does pay should it not turn out as expected?

More to come I am sure. Still no official word from City Hall on the structure of the deal.

David Fehr Zimmerman

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to the concept of 'regionalisam' once so prominently promoted by local leaders and media giants (OK, former media giants)? Now all we get are more and more entertainment venues canabalizing each other's shows. God help State Theatre, Civic Theatre, etc. as they get screwed by taxpayer supported hockey arenas and concert halls owned by billion dollar global casino companies. There are just so many washed up (but at times entertaining) acts out there.

A side note: have you noticed how ArtsQuest is advertising the Blood Sweat and Tears concert as a 'benefit' for flood losses? That show was booked BEFORE the flood. I guess Mr. Parks thinks he can play word games by tugging on the heart strings of those who think they'll be going to a 'benefit concert.' Heck, as a non-profit organization everything they do is considered a 'benefit.' Don't ya just love wordsmithing?

A side-side note: BS&T without David Clayton Thomas is like seeing the Beatles without Lennon and McCartney.

Anonymous said...

"Thirty-five percent increase in earned income levy helps pay rising pension costs."
No problem here.
Just spend a couple hundred million dollars, that will never be recouped, on an arena that no one will attend.
Keep playing that fiddle while Rome... I mean Allentown burns.

Anonymous said...

MM
Someone said this week crime is down in Allentown but that's really hard to believe. Has the paper reported how that recent South Side home invasion took place?

Anonymous said...

There is no due diligence on the arena. The Mayor avoids any public forum where he may be questioned about this.

I heard he backed out of three appointments with ASD. This whole project is a scam.

Sounds like Enron to me. One day when this blows apart the same idiots supporting the project blindly will be asking how did it happen?

Monkey Momma said...

"I was informed this evening that the loss in tax revenues to the school district should be around $100,000.

This word came from the PFM rep who has been getting the financing together for the city."

Mr. Zimmerman - I appreciate your comments. You are quite brave - I wish there were more of you in Allentown. If you're already being told of a 100K loss, imagine what the REAL loss will be!!!! Holy smokes. The whole arena deal is just so sad - I really cannot imagine being an ASD kid and seeing millions of dollars spent on an arena when the school is firing teachers and cutting back on everything. So sad. Keep up your great work, though.

Anonymous said...

Monkey Momma:

I appreciate your comments. I have always stated I do not know if The Arena is good for Allentown or not. Most say it is, however I am not aware of any public research on which to base this assumption.

The messengers of the mantra, there will be no impact on school tax revenues, have generally been the foot soldiers of The Mayor. No official public statement has been made from either the administration or the authors of the legislation.

There also has never been any recognition there could be a downside to this investment. All seem to assume it cannot fail. I am not so optimistic and am more reserved in my opinion of the potential outcome, especially without any transparency.

Another question begs to be answered, if this does not work out, who foots the bill?

We have all heard many promises before, most of which have not panned out to the expectations expressed at the outset, as the administration puts their grand schemes into effect. I expect this to be no different. If nothing changes, nothing changes.

My real disappointment, though, is in the decision to enter into the eminent domain process. I do not think this is what democracy was meant to be. It is disheartening to see how the owners of these businesses have been treated. The methodology employed in the execution of this process reminds me of the behavior of the typical school yard bully.

I also believe that while an action can be legal, it may not be ethical or moral. This is what I believe about the eminent domain decision in Allentown. It is a mistake to cross this line and I fear it will yield immeasurable damage to the community in the end.

I hope I am proven wrong.

David Fehr Zimmerman

Local said...

David, I am a complete supporter, but "Most say it is, however I am not aware of any public research on which to base this assumption."

Who are "most " of the people?
I live in town and have not heard one single voice supporting this debacle. NONE.

Anonymous said...

Local:

It seems the early adopters of the project includes anyone in or connected to the Pawlowski administration. To them there is no downside.

That also includes those doing the interim flips of property to take money out early.

Kind of like the new restaurant where an entrepreneur comes in with an exciting hot concept and generates a highly successful business from the get go.

At the height of popularity the restaurant is sold, at a huge premium, and for some reason, seems like, the new owner never sees the initial success again.

Perhaps the purpose of the arena is in the land acquisition and construction process as opposed to the finished project.

A lot of union jobs will be available and a lot of money will exchange hands.

In the end, well? Weeds always seem to grow where man once walked.

Those not so inclined to be "in the know" are the ones who see the reality and know it ain't gonna come down the way his honor claims.

That is most of the population, who will end up holding the bag - again.

Anonymous said...

Local said:

"Who are "most " of the people?
I live in town and have not heard one single voice supporting this debacle. NONE."

It's possible that people don't care. It's possible that people do not feel anything can help Allentown; it's also possible that they feel this project can't hurt it.

I recall that about 35 years ago, bethlehem had a grandious plan to reinvent downtown Bethlehem. The area between Center, Church, Union and the Monocacy Creek was to be razed and rebuilt with a mall, a convention center, a performance center, parking decks, office towers and residential buildings. The model was beautiful and you could hardly recognize the "old" Bethlehem. For many who were anxious for change, this was the ticket to the future. Anything would be better than the old, city. In anticipation, many established merchants left. Quite a few were looking to retire anyway, but I'm certain quite a few would have rather remained, but there was no future for them in the new city. The south side of Broad from New to Guetter and the north side from Guetter to Main were wiped off the map in anticipation of this new city. Fast forward to 2011 - It took twenty-five years to finally develop the section between Guetter and Main. It took longer to replace the void at the NE corner of Broad and New. An office tower and a failed attempt at a "mall" remain in the other section. Luckily, cool heads prevailed and the rest of the plan was scrapped. Can you imaging a Main Street without the Sun Inn? Imaging a Main Street without any of the Victorian buildings that exist from Broad to Church. These buildings arguably make bethlehem unique and make Musikfest so delighful as an urban experience.

I hope against hope that there may be a similar awakening in Allentown; just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you should.


VOR

michael molovinsky said...

VOR, you said this so well, i will be quoting you in an upcoming post.

dwp64 said...

We Have the perfect model of why the arena should not be downtown....Look at the City of Reading and its arena in downtown..Go one block away and what revenue do you find it generating.....Absolutley none and now its finding its own revenue funds drying up that it can't even support itself...This is a sad state of affairs to have this Arena put in Center City Allentown.
This is just wrong to do.