Feb 4, 2015
Allentown's Choo Choo Madness
The Allentown Economic and Development Corporation has received a $1.8 million grant, toward a $4 million dollar project, to restore a portion of the Barber Quarry branch to service an industrial building on South 10th Street. The building once housed Traylor Engineering, which was a giant back in the day. Recently, it housed a smaller fabricator who President Obama visited on his Allentown photo opportunity mission. The business has since closed, but let's not have that reality stand in the way of grants. Last summer, I fought against Allentown's Trail Network Plan, which catered to the spandex cyclist crowd. The new trail was to be built on the Barber Quarry track line. Not only didn't the AEDC oppose the plan, it's director was an advocate. Now they will be funded to develop that which they wanted to destroy. Where do I begin in Allentown's World of Mirth? Only in the unaccountable world of agencies and grants, would $millions of dollars of our money be available for projects which are twenty years too late. The track is long gone. The only industry (Traylor Engineering) which would have need, is long gone. The business reality of South 10th Street is now a go-cart track and the Hive, which is a Junior Achievement type project.
Barber Quarry Branch Line Posts
The Train of Lehigh Parkway
above reprinted from May of 2011
UPDATE: SEPT. 21,2012 AEDC And Pawlowski AT IT AGAIN Pawlowski Development Company is currently conducting a full court press on both the County Commissioners and the Allentown School Board to grant KOZ status to the closed Metal Works, the same building referred to above, from where both Obama and Romney spoke on their visits to Allentown. When Obama was here shortly after being elected, it was still operating. By the time Romney came during his primary, it was already shuttered. At no time did the owner ever cite lack of rail service, or payment of property taxes, as factors in the decline of his company. Pawlowski has Scott Unger, from AEDC, pitching the KOZ, saying that the building will have a choo choo train. The track has been removed and scrapped years ago, all the way from 3th and Union Streets. The cost to restore the rail bed to an empty building on speculation would be untold $millions to the taxpayers. Although in the world of federal grants there is little accounting, this would truly be the Track To No-Where. Ironically, one of the last existing areas with a track spur, along the river by Structural Steel, is being eyed for residential use.
UPDATE: February 4, 2015. Flash ahead two years, and Scott Unger and his useless AEDC stay silent, while the NIZ kingpins spin removing the last rail spur route in Allentown, along the river, as progress. Meanwhile, back in urban studies, it is accepted that rail service is a huge plus as a commercial incentive. Bethlehem actively markets its former steel property as having rail service.