Jun 17, 2016
City Council Votes NO
In a action that was unthinkable for the past 10 years, Allentown City Council voted NO on an administration proposal. The park department wanted to commission a study on their parcel behind the Hamilton Family Diner, to see if it was feasible to again reuse that area for their trucks and machinery. The buildings were flooded in Hurricane Sandy in 2012, and a number of trucks were destroyed. Some council members, rejecting the study proposal, claimed that because the facility was in a flood plain, nothing there should be renovated. I disagree. Until the early part of the 20th century, almost every industrial building was built in a flood plain, both for power and transportation. Hurricane Sandy did not ruin those buildings, they were ruined by neglect. The roof singles on the older brick building were in a terrible condition, with large bare patches. I posted about this neglect years before the flood. The mold contamination came from normal rains, not the flood. Just as the city allowed the former 15th Street Bridge to decay from neglect, it was the same with that park building. Likewise, the trucks should have been moved prior to the storm, as they had been for years before. Although, I agree that they can save the $3,950 consultant study, my vote would be to replace the roof, and rehabilitate the building.
On a side note, the sentencing for those that Pawlowski led astray, has now been postponed from July until November. That would suggest that the mayor may be charged later than sooner. Maybe the no vote was city council rehearsing for the long haul.
ADDENDUM: The blogger at LVCI disagrees with my take on the issue. Yes, although it is in what is now referred to as a flood plain, at one time the brick building was the Pepsi Cola bottler, and serviced by the Barber Quarry rail spur. The location is near both Cedar and Trexler Parks, and proved an ideal location for decades. The issue isn't whether to locate a facility there, but rather to take advantage of an existing facility. Currently, the heavy park trucks are stored in Lehigh Parkway, and it is believed that their weight may have contributed to the WPA wall collapse.