May 6, 2011

AEDC's Choo Choo





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
Allentown Archeology
Junkyard Train

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight.. you don't want a trail and certainly not an expensive train track to nowhere. So what do you want? A weed filled area in which the homeless to live? Please share with us your vision for this parcel.

michael molovinsky said...

fair question. at this point in time i do not oppose a trail on the former Barber Quarry branch line. the track has already been removed, and restoring it would be an expensive train track to nothing i do oppose the removal of existing track (even currently unused) for trails. I do oppose the paving of cinder paths in the parks. I do oppose the concept of linking the parks by trails, which is unnecessary.

Patrick McHenry said...

Anon 11:17 -

Good question, since God knows we need "progress". We certainly need a better "vision", since just putting the train tracks back is so 50 years ago. And letting nature reclaim it would be so 200 years ago.

Since you asked for ideas, I think the location is perfect for something like a "Riverwalk" like San Antonio.

We could also add some "boutique" shops. Naturally we would need some "upscale" housing as well. If the downtown location doesn't work for the hockey arena, why not a "multi-purpose" facility down by the creek?

Maybe we could put a subway below our "Riverwalk", or the train ("light rail", of course) could travel on an elevated track above.

Don't forget to throw in a "trash-to-steam" energy plant and cover everything with solar panels so we can feel good about going "green".

All we have to do to get it is pack a council meeting with flunkies, pitch the idea and wait for the big cardboard checks to arrive. Nothing quite like free money, though one day I'll have to try and figure out where they actually get that money from.

And I hope you agree with me, because if not you're just one of those people who are waiting for Hess's to come back and save Allentown.

michael molovinsky said...

patrick, here in allentown, reality is stranger than fiction. the AEDC building (former Mack factory) is on east side of S. 10th st., across 10th from the former Traylor Plant. The AEDC building (Bridgeworks Enterprise) also houses Allentown City Engineering Dept. Although we spent $millions remodeling City Hall for one stop permits, contractors must now go to both City Hall and S. 10th Street to obtain a permit for many jobs. However, you, and especially the Hive cheerleaders, will be happy to know that the roof was outfitted with solar panels.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing that I laugh at train wrecks.... or this wouldn't be funny.
>
Because it's there - something MUST be done with it that costs tax $$$.
There are so very many more deserving places and things that need attention ($$$) than an empty lot.
Another city scam designed to take $$$ from the many and put it in the pockets of a few.
Sad.

gary ledebur said...

Who is giving this money, for what purpose and with what strings?

michael molovinsky said...

gary, here is an address about the grant

http://allentowngoodnews.blogspot.com/2010/11/rail-freight-grant.html

what isn't mentioned, and may not even be known by them, is that there is absolutely no business between where the spur line branches off the main and s. 10th st., and there is no business there on s. 10th. it would make about as much sense as restoring the west end train line across 17th and liberty, to the pizza parlor. they are puppies and guppies, playing with our money.

gary ledebur said...

My limited research has determined that this is money awarded by Governor Corbott from his capital budget and administered by PennDOT. It is money designated solely for rail development. The thinking is that by building a spur to an existing freight line business will develop to take advantage of this opportunity. I hate to defend our governor but what is wrong with investing in freight rail to attract business? In any case why give Corbott a pass and only attack AEDC which is only trying to bring business back to Allentown which I thought you would like. Tell me where I go wrong.

michael molovinsky said...

gary, considering that AEDC made the announcement in oct, of 2010, and the grant was in the pipes long before, it seems to me that it had to originate with rendell. but, with whomever, it is asinine. i suspect i know more about the spur line than AEDC. the only business that was ever on the line before s. 10th st., was the wire mill at lehigh and lawrence. there are no buildings still on the route, and the parcels are now residential. to run a line now all the way from union and basin, where it must begin, to s. 10th st., to hope to attract a business. is absurd. i don't think that the infrastructure can be put back for the $4 million projected cost. any business utilizing railroad, and justifying the rail cost by corman or conrail, instead of truck, requires enormous volumes of material. there are vacancies in the buildings west of town, still serviced by the fogelsville line. furthermore, how much did it cost thus far, for our public servants to plan, formulate and process this grant? i would certainly hope they don't throw good money after bad.

Anonymous said...

If Allentown had stable neighborhoods and a reliable/predictable government those with funds to invest would certainly be attracted to the area. Since the opposite is true we are at the mercy of government bureaucrats to save us. Therefore we are doomed.

Scott Armstrong

ironpigpen said...

Nay sayers...

Big Government can do everything if you would only just give it more money and power.

gary ledebur said...

MM: You make some very good points. I still would not give the governor a pass simply because a plan was in the works before he became governor. If he spends it on his watch, he owns it! He can and has cancelled several Rendell initiatives lately.

Why don't you use your knowledge and expertise and get some fellow travelers to put forth economic development plans rather than just reacting to others' plans? It could be a sound platform for future candidates to debate if not run for office on.

Anonymous said...

Further indication of the incredible insanity characterizing the leadership of this town.

Bike lanes, trails connecting cities, giant Lego playgrounds, adult sandboxes and now a train line to service an industry that has not existed for 25 years.

Does anyone recall what those blinking blue lights are at select intersections throughut Allentown?

michael molovinsky said...

gary, what we disagree about is that bureaucratic (forgive me) notion that a bad plan is better than no plan. i.e., IMHO, allentown school district was better before zahorchak and his plans. you keep repeating that if i'm going to criticize, i should have alternative plans to offer. if resources were used to keep allentown clean and safe, and the playing field was level, the quality of life would have more attraction and benefit than all these plans. i have no need to formulate economic plans for future candidates. i need only to make sure that my own activity contributes to the community.

Anonymous said...

This is not the time for economic development for the sake of development.
Not only do we not need more flunkies dreaming up, expensive, useless,crazy schemes, the government positions held by these individuals should be vacated.
Can't afford it? Then don't do it.
Disband money sucking city "authorities".
Try ENCOURAGING people to live here by not continually jerking with us for more money at every opportunity.
A string of bureaucrats
that think their jobs are about providing (with our money) services that we do not need or won't won't be missed by any one.
How about:
Make our streets safe to walk.

Anonymous said...

I don't accept your rationale. It is too easy for you just to say I am opposed to anything but safe and clean streets. You have an obligation as a citizen, particularly one with the time, talent and resources to develop this into a platform and put it forward to the voters. I know you did it once. I"ll bet you had a relationship once that didn't work out. Does that keep you from ever having another? I think not. Give folks a viable alternative. Give folks something to be for not just something to be against. Timing is everything. You were ahead of your time before. Now is the time!!!!!

gary ledebur said...

above post from ledebur

Anonymous said...

Without safe streets the rest is impossible.
Something to be for?
I am for:
Safe streets.
Local politicians staying out of our pockets for pet projects benefiting nobody but their cronies.
Abolishing agencies, bureaus, and authorities where publicly paid employees believe that their goal is to emulate fortune 500 companies seeking ever more profits regardless of how it negatively affects residents.
I could go on but ya'll get the idea.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the city fight to keep Allentown Metal Works in business!
This is a joke.

gary ledebur said...

it is too bad that all the negativity on this blog could not be channelled into something constructive. I guess it is more fun and a lot easier to just bitch and moan.

Anonymous said...

I see nothing negative about not just looking for ways to spend money.
I believe that what Mr. Ledebur persistantly describes as negativity, bitching, and moaning
are actually important, positive ideas to improve our lot here in Allentown.

Anonymous said...

Safety?
See the Morning Call:
Four of the first six articles are about violent occurrences on the streets of Allentown.
It's like this nearly every day.

michael molovinsky said...

there are magazines and blog sites for government and school administrators outlining ordinances and programs which can be recommended as "strategy" by our elected and appointed officials. this is how pawlowski recommends some program from baltimore, or zahorchak some program from kalamazoo, michigan. it's no surprise that they are inapplicable to allentown, and a waste of our resources.
gary, find out how much money zahorchak has raised from his kalamazoo scholarship initiative?

michael molovinsky said...

a school board meeting i attended, 500 people showed up, they were stuffed into the meeting room and hallways of the administrative building,standing room only. although 80 people signed up to speak, zahorchak insisted that all present suffer through his 25minute power point pie chart presentation. THAT'S A MEDIOCRE BUREAUCRATIC ADMINISTRATOR, not a innovator. i grow weary of positive ideas

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Molovinsky,

With all due respect --- Power Point presentations are very progressive and, actually, quite hip.

Like a Hive.

I strongly urge you to reconsider your present position.

Perhaps you could use a nap to enhance your powers of positive thinking?

Sincerely,

Kindergarten Cookie Monster

michael molovinsky said...

anon 4:45, actually i do apologize for the vitriolic tone of my previous comment. i do think zahorchak should have said, although i have prepared a power point presentation, let me cut to the chase. i am proposing these major curriculum changes because i believe they will improve both our test scores and graduation rate. i appreciate seeing so many concerned citizens, and now will yield the floor, to give you more time to express yourselves.