Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Can Allentown Make a Comeback? Tune in Thursday on WGPA 1100 AM
You've heard Billy Joel tell it like it is:
"Well we're living here in Allentown
And they're closing all the factories down
Out in Bethlehem they're killing time
Filling out forms
Standing in line ..."
Allentown is commonly regarded as the Lehigh Valley's armpit. Its homicide rate last year, 2 1/2 times the national average for cities of comparable size, is enough to make one hesitate about a little day trip. Much of its industry and downtown business is gone. And in his four years as Mayor, Mayor Roy Afflerbach seemed hopelessly unable to cope with city finances, which have turned into a nightmare.
But there are rays of hope and a new Mayor in town. Blogs like Our West End Neighborhood and Old Fairgrounds think Allentown's making a comeback, and point to things like 7th Street cleanups, the Allentown Preservation League, the Arts park, and refreshed awnings on 8th Street.
Tomorrow, my guests on WGPA 1100 AM will be Damien Brown, who operates Our West End Neighborhood. He'll be joined by none other than Allentown restaurantuer Louis T. Belletieri,whose family restaurant has been at 12th and Chew since 1958. He ran for Mayor himself and said then that the city could benefit from his business knowledge. Although Lou lost, Mayor Pawlowski drafted him to help revitalize the Lehigh Valley's largest city.
The show will run from 8 to 10 AM. Feel free to call in with comments or questions at 610-866-8074. You can livestream the show. If you can't call in, post your comments or questions here, and I'll try to get answers.