Mar 28, 2012
Blogging and The Arena
Over the years, or more accurately, over the controversies, I had developed a unique relationship with the merchants of Hamilton Street. Last spring, I was honored to join them at their meeting with City officials, concerning the abrupt demands to sell their property. Despite their decades of keeping the lights on for Hamilton Street, their departure was swift and without mercy. They were literally evicted just prior to the Christmas shopping season. As the buildings and history was leveled to the ground, my interest in the controversy has waned. Last week, I speculated about the current state of the project; I believe that the Allentown Arena and office buildings will have some success with foot traffic. The actual cost to bring those people here, will never be known. The Lehigh Valley Hospital sports medical facility will guarantee some traffic flow. Fellow blogger Jon Geetings noted my concession with this reply: What I wonder about is why anyone should care how much it costs to create a larger production cluster in Allentown. We’re talking about PA’s third largest city. If all this ends up costing $2-3 billion in taxpayer subsidies, but it works, is anyone actually going to be arguing that this wasn’t worth doing 50 years from now? Although the former stores of Hamilton Street stood for 150 years, I seriously doubt if the new arena will be here in fifty years. I think that the taxpayer cost does matter, especially since they had no say in the matter. Last, but not least, an anonymous comment: Another I hate Allentown blog post by South Whitehall resident Molovinsky. He fails to mention all the new development as usual. For Molovinsky it is 1950/60's or bust. It is unfortunate that you live so far in the past. Yes, I came from a era when if the public was not given a vote on such a large project, they would have at least been afforded input. Our politicians were arrogant enough to put the cost of this Transformation not only on the local residents, but the surrounding municipalities as well.