Oct 6, 2011
Allentown's Tea Leaves
Some people read tea leaves, I read deed transfers. I can tell you that Pawlowski's Transformation includes 3 square blocks. In addition to the publicly stated 700 block of Hamilton Street, projects will also be built on blocks to the east and north. When completed, downtown will have two separate shopping districts; There will be the low income Hispanic Shopping District on 7th Street, and the hoped for middle class district on Hamilton, west of 8th Street. These two districts will be physically separated by the new projects; hockey arena, event center and hotel(s). In a recent Morning Call article The heart was torn out of the city, Easton's Mayor Sal Panto says that their 1966 renewal project was a total mistake. Panto won't apply the lesson to that city's new plans about a Lanta Terminal and High School Sports Museum. Here in Allentown, Pawlowski wasn't even here for our previous failures. The stark, former bank call center on the Lehigh Street hill, between Martin Luther Drive and Union Street, is testament to Allentown's previous failed attempt at transformation. Although the current Hamilton Street, shown above around 1950, is a shadow of it's former glory, the buildings remained for future renewal. That option will end come November. It is my fear that some mayor will say in 2050, that tearing down those buildings, was a total mistake.