Allentown has a schizophrenic attitude towards apartments. While we are spending millions of dollars to de-convert a few row house in center city, we are also spending millions to subsidize the creation of loft apartments in formerly commercial buildings. Now, lets define we. We may be direct grants from the city; city directed HUD grants, grants through the Redevelopment Authority or the Economic Development Corporation, or State Grants secured by the Administration. It's all we, it's all our tax money, and it's all being promoted by Ed Pawlowski. When Mr. Ed was Community Development Director under Afflerbach he promoted the Farr Loft project. As a mayoral candidate he repeatedly claimed it was private money and proof positive yuppies were clamoring for Hamilton Street life. A few months after Mayor Ed's coronation, the Farr Loft partnership received half a million from the state.* Upfront money, backdoor money, it's all our taxes. Back to this apartment problem, the defenders refer to gentrification. A mom with three children, burdening the school system, is being replaced by a single beamer with disposable income. Here's the rub, we are legitimizing these additional apartments with a hope and prayer for a certain demographic. Time will tell who we get, and how long he will stay. Will the second or third tenant be that mom again with her three children?
* Allentown's Farr building brings home $500,000 in aid ** Help from state tagged for downtown apartment project.
Scott Kraus Of The Morning Call; Morning Call; Jun 19, 2006; pg. B.3;