Sep 4, 2014

Building Allentown's Urban Homeowner

Allentown will once again try to induce the middle-class to live downtown. It is not a new experiment; Over forty years ago the Leh family renovated the 400 block of Walnut Street for the same purpose. Of course that was also the goal of the oversized Old Allentown Historic District. The latest plan, being financed by the local corporate heavy hitters, will concentrate on the area north of Linden Street. The plan is modeled on similar programs by Johns Hopkins in Baltimore and U of P in Philadelphia. Those are large urban area's, where gentrification is a natural development. Alan Jennings, although an implementor of such programs, realistically summed it up;  When the target group is the middle-class, that demographic has the means to live in a more suburban area. Again in the real world, Allentown has lost some of it's most committed urbanists because of the school system. I suppose if we're subsidizing the commercial real estate development, we can also pay some middle class looking folks to live and walk around downtown.


Dreaming of Justice said...

Here again, the Corporate Barons are so busy frantically tooting their horns over the arena they forget the
obvious concerns of Average Person.

Where is the grocery shopping?
Where is the green space for my children?
What is the current state of the public school system?
What is it like to reside in Allentown during and after a major snow storm?
What will be the property taxes if I buy?
Will be purchased home gain in value?

(hint):Arenas do NOT increase the value of homes. Arenas do NOT improve schools. Arenas do NOT contribute to the overall quality of life by preserving green space. The state of the available green space is another conversation. Arenas are associated with decreases in quality of life: traffic, crowding, possibly certain types of crime. That is why in more responsibly run cities arenas are NEVER located in the middle of neighborhoods downtown.

So here is my educated guess about "middle class" people (whatever that means) moving downtown. These "middle class" people are going to sit back, perform due diligence, and ask themselves, Why would I move to Allentown?

Why would YOU move your family there?


Anonymous said...

The school district's biggest challenge is that it is in Allentown(local revenue problems/high poverty rate,spreading blight,all driven by a lack of attention to neighborhoods and general mismanagement). That said it is therefore logical to conclude that if the city improves so will the district.
So while the district continues to adjust, cope and innovate to ever worsening conditions, very few of which are of our own making, we all hope for the best with these downtown efforts.
Hope is what the plan is based on after all.

Scott Armstrong

doug_b said...

Having left A-town in 1971 (after graduating from Lehigh and Penn State) I can't imagine anyone in the middle class wanting to live in any of the 'row homes' in center city. They are too small, ill designed for 21st century living, lack of parking... I could go on and on.

The best thing that could be done is to bulldoze blocks and blocks and build new housing.

When something is worn out, it needs replacing.

No sense of puting lipstick on a pig.

Pennsylvania - the great exporter of people. Even in 1972 I couldn't get a STEM job in Pa!

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight: NIZ companies and institutions get big tax breaks, with tax payers in the rest of the city and state picking up the tab. After all, there is no commensurate decrease in state spending, is there? Then they take some of the windfall from their tax savings and dole it out in subsitdies to their 'middle class' employees. That sounds like a state subsidy for this decades's YUPPIES. Remember in the Reagan years how liberals mocked Young Urban Professionals, derisively called YUPPIES? Today's liberals seem to think of them as the salt of the earth. Go figure.

Anonymous said...

as you have not published one of mine in some time¿ I am waiting in great anticipation as to this unaddressed pressing issue allentown administration refuses to accknowledge no matter the party¿
We are currently in another edited out news media release weekend¿

With your attention to a seat in harrisburg were are we to read local happening¿

patent pending