May 9, 2016
Contemplating Allentown's future seems somewhat bleak, certainly compared to its past. The All American City of the Mack and Western Electric era resulted in a large middle class, which supported three large urban department stores. Now, we deem some office workers, poached from the suburbs, as a measure of success. The second NIZ, at the waterfront, will now poach their anchor tenant, Talen Energy, from the Hamilton Street PPL Plaza. Our current leadership is under a cloud of alleged corruption. Even our newspaper has been for sale for the last decade.
Before Mayor Pawlowski started working for his predecessor, Roy Afflerbach, he headed the Alliance For Building Communities. When he covered the front of their historic brick building in dryvit, I knew that he had no sense of history or aesthetics. He then gave City Line Construction a grant to smear the stuff on their building. Even our historical society, rather than featuring our history, has shows on Abraham Lincoln. This week I will attempt to garner some interest in preserving the iconic Wehr's Dam, which has been a destination for over 100 years. The dam is again under threat by the South Whitehall Commissioners, who are likewise clueless about history.
We who care about such things as ethics, beauty and history, face a difficult challenge. We must stand fast, despite the indifference of the elected officials, and the preoccupation of a public which is struggling just to get by.