Aug 16, 2013
CeCe Doesn't Understand
CeCe Gerlach appeared before Allentown City Council and wanted to know what the Arena project and the NIZ will do for people of limited income. Leave it to Uncle Mike here to give you the straight answer. Although they will never say it, they are hoping that it will make them disappear, or at least push them up to the colored district, further up 7th Street. When I appeared on the Business Matters debate on the arena, an advocate for the project referred to the former merchants and their clientele as a cancer. Earlier this week, the Arena Authority wondered what they could do to officially repress undesirable businesses in the district. Facade grants have been given out to dress up those remaining businesses that attract low income customers. As for jobs in the NIZ, you can sell peanuts at the arena. You will not be trained as a banker for the new Penn National Headquarters. You will not be trained as a physician at the Lehigh Valley Sports Medicine Center. You will not be trained as an engineer at the Air Products division moving into J.B. Reilly's new City Center Office Building. However, money will be contributed to Alan Jennings' Community Action Company for a few minority owned startups, maybe even one or two in the promise land. Lehigh County Community College will get funded for more training classes. Community Benefit will be funded, but it's very doubtful that the community will benefit.