Jan 1, 2012

Down The Rabbit Hole

The unfortunate sinkhole on N. 10th Street has spawned the usual debate , which came first, the sinkhole or the water main break? We who have been around for a long time pretty much know that it's the water main break. In addition to holes, the breaks most likely caused some tragic gas explosions. This conclusion is based on the fact that there is almost always a water main break associated with the holes, and the rate of occurrences have been increasing as the pipes age. Even the famous Corporate Plaza implosion was probably caused by a water main break. Understand that for liability reasons, the City never admits that a water leak created a sinkhole. This post is not about that debate, but rather to question our priorities. It is acknowledged that the city has miles of pipe in excess of 100 years old. In spite of an infrastructure causing periodic tragedy, we are building a $158 million dollar arena, which is only phase 1 of more ambitious plans. Down the rabbit hole is an expression which means entering a state of confusion. By ignoring our infrastructure and the myriad of other quality of life issues, we are going down the hole.


Bill said...

Strongly agree.

Anonymous said...

The USA, and allentown in particular, is in a state of decline.
The mayor fiddles while our city burns.

Anonymous said...

Who paid for the fireworks display over Allentown at midnight?
The codified ordinances for the city of Allentown clearly describe this behavior as illegal.
I really hope that my taxes were not involved with that late night noise.
Probably precipitated the guns firing all around during this late night show. The police scanner was buzzing with activity.
Police didn't even drive by after reports to dispatch of an individual emptying out the clip of a large caliber hand gun skyward out of his Law street apartment door.

ironpigpen said...

I thought the other day's Morning Call front page to be rather humorous in a contradictory and hypocritical kind of way.

Above the fold, Nicole Radzievich laments "ADDRESSING AGING INFASTRUCTURE : Miles Of Pipeline Must Be Replaced, But Cities Can Only Afford Short Stretches"

Directly beneath, cheerleader Scott Kraus reassures "ENGINEERS DIG DEEP TO BEAT SINKHOLES : Arena To Be Anchored By Holes Drilled 100 Feet Or More Into Bedrock, Reinforced With Steel, Filled With Grout"

Almost unbelievable but, then again, this is the People's Democratic City With No Limits.


Anonymous said...

The presses at the MC are anchored that way too. The MC building is not. Picture the network of gigantic columns needed to support an arena.

Anonymous said...

MM -

Whether or not the arena can beat sinkholes is almost irrelevant. As the SMALL sinkhole on 10th Street showed, even a small hole can close down a large area.

A sinkhole anywhere near the arena could cause a major disruption.

michael molovinsky said...

to my knowledge, the water mains in the direct vicinity of the proposed arena have been updated in the last couple of decades. the issue of this post is the remainder of center city, mostly still served by pipes 100 + years old. more importantly, the priorities of the administration; it's always the ribbon cutting photo opts which trump the quality of life improvements.

Anonymous said...

If we want the old water lines replaced at a faster pace (which I do), the only way to do it is to increase water rates. That is a completely different funding source than the funding for the arena (which is not coming from city tax dollars or fees).

michael molovinsky said...

anon 9:04, which government entity benefits from the earned income tax, which is now going toward the arena? which entity lost the property taxes from 34 properties in the arena square block? allentown's separation of the water and sewage funds is arbitrary. furthermore, as you may well know, that money over the years has been "borrowed" to fund many projects, but apparently not enough allotted to pipe replacement. again, it's a matter of misplaced priorities.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Anonymous 9:04's post reflects the effective sleight of hand that is Allentown's arena funding.

By pulling out a stream of existing funding to one body and using it to fund a completely new endeavor, we create a VOID for the original body. That void will be filled somehow. We can bet on that.

This reminds me of the misconception as to why school taxes rised so often over the past 20 years, or so. In that example, our state government reduced its funding to your local district to enable its own revenue demand to remain somewhat stable.

Problem is, the local school district's obligations continued and school boards were forced to react to a new funding void created for them.

ALL of the tax funding made available for the arena project WILL be made up somewhere, somehow, by someone.

There is NO magical free ride.