Feb 29, 2012
Allentown Arena's Magic Show
Although demolition of the former shopping district is yet to be completed, or the first brick laid for the new arena, cracks are appearing in Mayor Pawlowski's taxpayer funded attempt to magically transform Allentown. Yesterday, the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Joseph ElChaar, felt compelled to write a rah rah letter to The Morning Call. Surrounding municipalities have been alienated by the pilfering of their EIT taxes. Pat Browne, long time State Representative and Senator, soiled his reputation as details have emerged about the taxing district, and his connection to the various principals involved. Even the merchant victims of the scheme made the national news, with misinformed allegations that they were overpaid with taxpayer money. The revelation that tobacco taxes will be used to fund Allentown's grab, surely will have repercussions in Harrisburg. Once the monstrosity is completed and running, the real pain will begin. With home hockey games only occupying 40 nights a year, success is dependent upon concerts and other entertainment venues. The existing market for entertainment is competitive, to say the least. Last year, one rain storm put the new SteelStacks financially behind the eight ball. If SteelStacks, The State Theater, Symphony Hall, Zoellner, Stabler and others were not enough, enter the Sands Casino Entertainment venue. Starting in May, the Sands will bring one star after another, to their money making machine. With the adjoining Casino, their theater need not concern itself with making a profit, but only attracting people and their wallets to the complex. Pawlowski's taxpayer funded hall of scandal will languish, as insufficient parking and traffic congestion make for an unpleasant evening. Although speeches and letters will attest to how wonderful and successful it is, eventually, the rabbit will fall out the bottom of the hat.