May 19, 2011
The Night Hamilton Street Died
What was once a thriving block of Hamilton Street will now be turned into a ghost down. Even now, although not the golden age shown above, the block between 7th and 8th does business. Still hosting three chain stores, the block had survived, despite one arrogant mayor after another. The Family Dollar Store is one of their most successful branches. Rainbow (jeans) and Rite Aid also anchor the block, along with successful independents. In a night of shame, one of the most shameful acts was Julio Guridy, interrupting the merchants so that Mayor Pawlowski could educate them. Pawlowski said that the arena could attract up to 1.5 million people a year, and that everyone will benefit, even relocated merchants. Considering that the hockey team only actually attracts 3,000 people to 40 home games, Pawlowski is off by about 1.4 million. In reality, the stores that remain on the south side of the street will now face an empty arena and much less foot traffic. The upscale restaurants, such as Sangria and Cosmopolitan, will suffer, because their patrons will avoid the nighttime traffic congestion. Lou Belletieri told Council that he operated a restaurant across from the Wilkes-Barre Arena, and did no business, what so ever, from it. Councilman Michael Donovan said that although he feels for the merchants, he owes the other 118,000 citizens The Pawlowski Palace of Sport.* He actually owed them the courage to say no to this ill conceived plan.*
*Palace of Sport is a borrowed term coined by a blog reader. Donovan was joined by five other councilmen in his yes vote.