Yesterday I received a plea from Peter Lewnes if I could join the effort to stop the Rite-Aid from using their box store plan on 7th Street. Below are excerpts from his letter.
I'm writing for your support against a corporate takeover of 7th and Allen Street at tomorrow night's zoning hearing board meeting. ...Where was Peter when the city decided to tear down the historical 700 block of Hamilton Street, in the traditional shopping block, to build the Big Ice Box? Where was Peter when merchant after merchant lined up at City Council to plead for their livelihood and 20 years of their labor? The 7th Street Business District has actually prospered from the pending demolition of Hamilton Street. Several merchants have relocated there, including the dynamic New York Fashion.
7th Street Allentown's development is facing a serious setback tomorrow night. The Rite Aid Corporation is seeking to demolish 602-618 N 7th Street, an anchor building that admittedly requires a ton of renovation but historically housed Rite Aid and served them well as a facility.
The threat lies with what they propose to replace it with. The Seventh Street Development Committee has worked to protect center city from suburban sprawl and becoming an extension of 145 in Whitehall... SSDC continually advocated for restrictions on big-box, suburban-style development along the corridor - any type of development that would be detrimental to its street-oriented, pedestrian-friendly design.
What Rite Aid is proposing for the corner of 7th and Allen Street flies directly in the face of the results of this public, community-driven process. ... Approving such variances would set a dangerous precedent, making it that much easier for future developers to further decimate the heart of our neighborhood shopping district....
Asking where Peter was is somewhat rhetorical. I realize that if Peter doesn't serve directly at the favor of the Mayor, his efforts on 7th Street are never the less codependent on City Hall. I wish him well this evening at the zoning hearing.
Bernie O'Hare also covers Lewnes's letter