Nov 23, 2009

Selling Easton's Soul

Business, in the center cities of the Lehigh Valley, is a fragile thing at best. Even Bethlehem, considered the most successful, is more charm than dollars. Essentially, these prior centers of commerce have been reduced to three separate economies. The upscale restaurants serve a clientele, mostly in the evening, that has absolutely no interaction with the surroundings. The tourist venues, fixed or seasonal, also provide little revenue for the surrounding shops. Last, but not least, you have an urban population and the bus people. Bethlehem has managed to maintain an upscale demographic living in it's center city, but this post is about Easton. (Allentown only has one such person living on Hamilton Street, she is the Community Development Director)

The Morning Call has published three stories about the High School Sports Hall of Fame, which will occupy part of the new parking deck and Lanta Terminal, several blocks south of Center Square in Easton. Easton Mayor Sal Panto, perhaps hoping to once again see his high school picture, has been cheerleading this effort. Although there is no question that this is a moronic idea doomed to failure, grants are available, and Panto can't resist a grant. The pending failure of the Sports Museum is the good news; the destruction of the bus people economy is the real consequence. Allentown should have taught Panto an expensive lesson. (Lanta doesn't care about lessons or merchants) People waiting to transfer buses, as they do now at Easton's Center Square, will shop if the store is very close and convenient. They will not walk. They will not make an additional stop and wait for another bus. They don't buy much, but there's many of them. Now, they will sit on benches at the Easton Lanta Transfer Terminal and watch school children come to the Al Bundy Museum on field trips. Panto will wonder why business died on Northampton Street.


ironpigpen said...

As someone who obviously enjoys athletics, I have to disagree with your published comment in The Morning Call (11/22/09), Mr. Molovinsky.

Unfortunately, I would say that this High School Hall of Fame idea is NOT one step above a Pez Dispenser Museum.

I would say it is important for individual schools to maintain a Hall of Fame, but, then again, these days, schools apparently have no money for anything - so forget that idea, too.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Michael.

Looking To Escape said...

Allentown should have taught Panto an expensive lesson.

Correction: Allentown should have SAVED Panto an expensive lesson.
None the less, your post gave me an idea!
Allentown could have a famous flops museum. Housed within can be a bulidng dedicated to man/womankind's greatest flops, failures, backfires and bad ideas.
An Edsel can greet visitors and tourists in the lobby.
I am unaware of any museum dedciated to such a subject.

Anonymous said...

It's a humorous piece but very tragic and true...

Alfonso Todd

Anonymous said...

Mayor Sal Panto says:
Michael, you can read my earlier post about the fact that buses will remain on Northampton Street. This is in response to your continued comments about the HS Sports Hall of Fame. The grants you speak of will be going to the construction of the intermodal and parking deck -not the Hall of Fame. The HOF will be a nationally recognized facility with several national sponsors that will be announced in the near future. They will be a tenant of the city's and paying rent similar to the Crayola Center which attracts more than 300,000 visitors a year.

Things are looking up FOR EASTON!