Oct 26, 2011

Saving The Queen City Airport


When I grew up on Liberator Ave., I would walk up Catalina Ave. toward school, which was at the end of Coronado. The streets were named for the Vultee-Consolidated WW2 planes, and the neighborhood was next to the airport built as part of the war effort. Vultee Street was built to connect the hangers with the Mack 5C plant, which was given over to Vultee-Consolidated for plane part manufacturing. Today this small airport is known as Queen City, and is threatened by Mayor Ed Pawlowski.
1944 was the first full year of the operation for the company's Allentown, Pennsylvania factory. Consolidated Vultee handled over $100M in wartime contracts at their Allentown plant where they produced TBY-2 Sea Wolves, components parts for B-24 Liberator bombers and other essential armaments and products for the war effort.
Pawlowski covets this unique part of our history to expand the tax base. What he doesn't understand is that more housing or commercial space is not in Allentown's best long term interest. Unfortunately, long term interest is not a term understood by our current leadership. There is a whole development of started houses off S. 12th St. and Mack Blvd. which were never completed. There are filled in foundations on 8th Street, also never completed. More housing is the last thing both the real estate market and school system need. Likewise, the existing commercial sector has been struggling to maintain an acceptable occupancy rate. Queen City airport is an unique asset to Allentown. If LVIA does successfully expand, a separate airport for small planes is very desirable for safety. Considering Pawlowski's predetermined objective, I question whether he should have been appointed to the LVIA Board.

Dennis Pearson, long time community activist from the East Side Rittersville area, reports last night(Sept. 23, 2010) that a portion of the State Hospital grounds had been given to the Allentown Commercial and Industrial Development Corporation. Just last week, Dennis requested that the City inform him of any plans concerning that land. Although representatives of the Administration were present, nobody had the consideration to response to Pearson's statement. These open spaces in Allentown, both Queen City and the State Hospital, are too important to let Pawlowski and Cunningham squander them for a short term, politically expedient, tax fix.

Malcolm Gross, an associate of Pawlowski, was just appointed by the court to overseer the $16million dollar payment due to the Fuller family by the Lehigh Valley Airport. The Airport Authority should sell the Fuller land that it never used, and retain Queen City.

UPDATE: Since a version of this post first appeared in September of 2010, LVIA is under court order to raise $16 million, as noted above. The airport (LVIA) is currently without it's former Executive Director. The Morning Call reports an offer for $18 million for the Queen City. Although such a sale would be incredibly shortsighted, that's a prominent local eye and mental condition.

14 comments:

binzley said...

"Pawlowski covets this unique part of our history to expand the tax base. What he doesn't understand is that more housing or commercial space is not in Allentown's best long term interest. "

It would be helpful and enlightening to this reader if you, MM, provided your views on what would be in Allentown's long term interest. How would you "grow the tax base?"

I have found it is better to offer alternatives rather than opposition.

steelbreast said...

Do we really need to grow our tax base?

Anonymous said...

Gary, the first thing you need to do is to make the city clean and safe again. Right now it is neither and few people will want to live, work or go to Allentown otherwise.

Once the first two are accomplished the tax base will take care of itself.

But to build more when we can't maintain and protect what we have is folly. And honestly, the last thing in the world we need is more retail shopping space around here.

Anonymous said...

"Do we really need to grow the tax base?"

Are you kidding me?

Of course!

My God, there are so many Entitlement Programs to be funded, so many starving children who need to be fed breakfast and dinner at school, just for one example.

Women will die on the floor without Government-funded abortions, as Nancy Pelosi has already explained ... I could go on and on, but we all know the score.

It's time to start rounding up people who are opposed to unlimited Government spending --- and shoot them once and for all.

(but not before we confiscate their property and assets)

ROLF OELER

lady Macbeth said...

I agree with Rolf. It is time we got serious about expanding the tax base. I know several folks who had an inadequate breakfast today. I know a couple who has to get by on one car. As to abortions, I am opposed to any and all, even when a girl is raped by her father as happened to my cousin last year. As to shooting those who oppose government funding being shot, perhaps Rolf is overstating. I think just taxing them into a government subsidized apartment would be sufficient. Rolf should run for mayor!

an old dutchman said...

I am getting old. Are these folks serious or not?

michael molovinsky said...

dutchman, no they're not, and it's a dilemma for me. sarcasm is often misunderstood. i prefer comments that contribute to the issue in a straight forward way, but want to accommodate the readers option to express themselves as much as possible.

steelbreast said...

I hear a proposal that there be a moratorium on all new housing and commercial development. If this is the case and all available resources put into law enforcement as well as beautification, sanitation, etc., is it likely that Allentown would thrive again?

Anonymous said...

Is it by accident this offer comes two weeks following a judge's ruling ordering the airport to pay the Fuller family.

As for a comment credited to the Florida developer in today's paper offering thousands of jobs and consequently thousands of cars added to the Lehigh Street traffic patterns, good luck with that! Check accident reports. Does a day go by without at least one accident along Lehigh from the I-78 off ramp to the Parkway Shopping Center?

Anonymous said...

all available resources put into law enforcement as well as beautification, sanitation, etc., is it likely that Allentown would thrive again?

October 26, 2011 6:59 PM

If only this was true.

MM-
How is that new restaurant you wrote about doing this week? More diners? Also, any word on attendance at the Cosmopolitan?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:42, on saturday i peeked into the bayleaf, which had quite a crowd. they never received a subsidy. Sangria was empty (3 tables). i have heard that things are going poorly for the cosmopolitan. The arena congestion will finish off fine dining in allentown. perhaps the brewpub will benefit, but certainly not the others.

Anonymous said...

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:42, on saturday i peeked into the bayleaf, which had quite a crowd. they never received a subsidy. Sangria was empty (3 tables). i have heard that things are going poorly for the cosmopolitan. The arena congestion will finish off fine dining in allentown. perhaps the brewpub will benefit, but certainly not the others.

October 26, 2011 7:50 PM

MM
Thank you. Wondered how these new restaurants were doing. Will they receive some of these new tax incentives you write about?
The irony is Sal's Spaghetti House with its reasonable prices and family atmosphere would have done very well.

Gregg Heilman said...

Years ago when the Federal Government turned the Queen City over to the city of Allentown it was made clear IT HAD TO REMAIN AN AIRPORT. It was a backup airport during the war, planes were built there and Vultee was a landing strip.

It has been tired by nearly every administration that ruled Allentown to develop the land and it always comes back to the Agreement with the Federal Government. IT MUST always REMAIN AN AIRPORT.

Lehigh Valley Resident said...

There is only one reason why the Mayor would want the Aiport sold: Pure Greed. Allentown has too many vacant factories, lots and housing to warrant building more.

Plus, the reliever airport serves the city on so many levels. For starters, it is a source of pride, a monument to our nations history, and an inspiration to our youth. After all, when was the last time a 4 year old looked in wonder at a warehouse.

Did anyone mention that it is illegal to sell that property? And, what about the open space? Green grass and all. Do we really need another shopping center (that will look like a dump in just 10 years time)?

Get real. How soon can we get a new, less corrupt, Mayor?