Oct 25, 2012

Planet Pawlowski

The front page of yesterday's Morning Call featured a story about how the residents of the Pennrose Senior Housing were coping with the constant noise of the arena construction. The Pennrose highrise sits on 7th Street, adjoining the bank being demolished, and directly across from the arena. The construction projects are scheduled to continue through 2014. The Pennrose building is income restricted housing for senior citizens. Interviewed were Romaine Smith, 69, and Carmen Hernandez, who is 71. Also interviewed was Mayor Pawlowski, whose quote about the inconvenience and noise subtitled the article.
"It's a small price to pay for the new neighborhood they are going to have."
I could write something cute, like I'm not sure how many hockey games Romaine and Carmen will attend, but there's nothing cute about Pawlowski's disconnected answer. What the senior residents of Pennrose lost was their neighborhood and quality of life. Around the corner, among the buildings demolished, was a small grocery store, a pizza parlor, a Family Dollar store, and a pharmacy. Across Hamilton Street, and now closed, was a bargain Chinese restaurant. The senior residents, in the sixty three fixed income Pennrose apartments, have no use for the sports bar or high end bistro's replacing those stores,  which served the necessities of their lives. The Morning Call gave Pawlowski a pass on his insensitivity to these people's reality, I do not.

photocredit: Harry Fisher/The Morning Call/October 24,2012


Publius said...

Are you serious???! It is a city. Cities are constantly in flux with noise and commotion and change. That is the essence of what it means to be a city. It doesn't matter if that change is private ( a new building), public (a new water main), or a combination of the two (the downton redevelopment).

Get over yourself. Things change, there is noise, that's a city. If you don't think that having some actual income coming into the city tax rolls is a good thing--even if it means disruption at the margins--you are insane.

This town is heartbreakingly provincial.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:04, although you are entitled to apply your young urbanist philosophy to allentown, it doesn't make you correct. statistically, such arenas are failures, in one city after another, which attempted to hit such a grand slam. cities which respected the historical role of their mercantile districts, such as bethlehem, seem to fair better. the amount, location and size of demolition is unprecedented, certainly not routine for cities, as your comment purports.

Anonymous said...

Dear MM, I just saw a documentary called "SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT" which showed the same situation that happened in here in Allentown, occurred in Brooklyn, NY. It wasn't a hockey arena, it was the new NETS arena. Displacement, broken promises, incredulous situations, and eminent domain were all featured... I guess this IS a textbook scenario. As for the Mayor's comment, I guess "Let them eat cake.." is a popular sentiment. People don't mind if a few eggs get broken, as long as it's not THEIR eggs...

Alfonso Todd



Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what the concept is that has change blocked because of some construction for about 18 months?

It isn't possible to negate every perceived or resl inconvienience. Going the extra effort to mitigate the problems is the right thing to do.I believe there is an effort to assist people with specific problems.

It was not a solution to the city needs to maintain a few low end stores and pass up new opportunities. Can't say if the arena will work or not, but try something better than dollar stores.

michael molovinsky said...

but try something better than dollar stores is pure code for a classist and racist attitude about downtown. the shopping center at tilghman and cedar crest has two dollar stores, as does the parkway shopping center. hamilton street will be a ghost town with the arena. i would be surprised if the young urbanist from the first comment lives downtown. you're confusing real gentrification with a taxpayer subsidized redevelopment scheme. welcome to the pawlowski-reilly white elephant. the two thousand plus PPL employees never helped revitalize downtown, neither will the additional ones in reilly's new buildings. besides a quick lunch break, they won't be able to get out of dodge fast enough come 5pm.

monkey momma said...

" but try something better than dollar stores."

I agree with MM's response, and would add this...the dollar store was there because of MARKET DEMAND. That is what the current people on Hamilton wanted and needed. If the dollar store were replaced by something more upscale because of changes in the market and capitalism, that would be fine. But it was government orchestrated destruction that closed that store, not natural business forces.

The "solution" the city needs is jobs for the inhabitants. Only then will we (collectively) be able to afford something "better" than a dollar store.

Anonymous said...

Pubicus @ 8:04 -

If all this tax money is rolling in, why is the Mayor trying to sell/lease the water & sewer operations for the next fifty years?

Could it be that reality is not quite as rosy as City Hall paints it?

Anonymous said...

Its called supply and demand¿