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Jan 10, 2012
The Transformation of Allentown
Transformational is Ed Pawlowski's word for the change taking place in Allentown. What's happening at the moment is demolition. There is an odor and dust in the air. One merchant told me he's fearful for his health walking around; Is the white soot asbestos? Thirty five, one hundred year old buildings, do that. I recall when the demolished rows of buildings were jewelers, shoe stores, opticians and tailors. None of the stores, even the ones on Hamilton Street, harked back to that era. The demolished stores apparently catered to a disposable clientele, whose votes matter more than their opinion. Those merchants, in vain, actually had gathered thousands of signatures pleading for their survival. The bulldozers, in one week, have established that Hamilton Street will never again aspire to be a shopping district. The only question now is will Allentown succeed as an entertainment and office venue? Will the taxpayers be able and willing to support a vision in which they had no input? The official answer will take years to determine. The true answer, even longer.