America’s Most Livable City, 100 Years In The Making

Editor’s note:  Great article detailing the city of Lancaster’s revitalization!
A century ago, downtown Lancaster was the economic and cultural center of Lancaster County. In 1910, the Red Rose City’s population of 47,000 represented 28% of the residents of the entire county, and all trolley lines led to Penn Square. 
Then Henry Ford’s Model T made cars affordable for everyone, and by 1938, Lancaster County’s trolleys had stopped running. The suburbs were growing, and Lancaster was beginning to feel the pain of changing demographics. 
As early as 1944, an investigation found that many of the city’s housing units were substandard, but that finding didn’t stop the population from peaking in 1950 at more than 63,000. By 1960, however, the number had dropped to 61,000, and two major events in the 1960s did great damage to the economy and to the spirit of downtown Lancaster. 

Ocean Spray Begins Construction On $110M Plant

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

State officials and business owners dug ceremonial shovels into the earth Tuesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of a $110 million Ocean Spray bottling plant in Upper Macungie.

The 315,000-square-foot plant is expected to bring 165 jobs to the region when it opens in September 2013. The plant will replace Ocean Spray’s aging facility in Bordentown, N.J. Some of the jobs at the new site will be filled by existing Ocean Spray employees who were given “the most generous incentive, relocation and transition packages” to help them move to the Valley, company officials said in a news release.

Pennsylvania lured Ocean Spray across the Delaware River by promising the company a $4.52 million incentive package. That included money for infrastructure improvements and job training, as well as a low-interest loan through the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority. The plant will be built using the latest environmentally friendly designs and materials.

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Kutztown’s Main Street Continues Retail Renaissance

View of Kutztown heading East (towards Allento...

View of Kutztown heading East (towards Allentown) on W Main Street. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note: Two Roy’s Rants thumbs to Kutztown‘s leadership!

It’s been awhile since Retail Watch ventured to Kutztown, so let’s go there today.

The Berks County borough has been a day-cation spot for some in the Lehigh Valley, and with recent retail additions and storefront facade improvements, may become even more popular.

First, Breinigsville vintner Vynecrest recently opened a retail shop at the former Made Shop storefront at 227 W. Main St. This marks the first owned retail space for Vynecrest, which, of course, offers samples and sells vino at its Breinigsville vineyard.

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Lancaster Laboratories May Expand

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lancaster Laboratories is considering a multimillion-dollar expansion here that could create hundreds of jobs.

The company has submitted plans to Upper Leacock Township for a four-story, 77,000-square-foot addition.

The building would be constructed on the south campus of its 2425 New Holland Pike complex, at the corner of Geist Road.

Some 400 new parking spaces would be added, too, according to the Lancaster Labs plans.

Lancaster Labs won four variances for the project from the township Zoning Hearing Board on Monday all by 3-0 votes.

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Big Hopes For Allentown’s Lehigh River Waterfront

City of Allentown from east side

City of Allentown from east side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Drawing comparisons to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, planners released a proposal Wednesday that redrafts Allentown’s derelict Lehigh River waterfront as a destination with restaurants, boat docks and a slew of office space.

In soft pastels, urban design firm EDSA sketched out a re-envisioning of the west bank that would include a traffic circle in front of the Hamilton Street Bridge, the proposed American Parkway Bridge to the north and every feature of an urban planner’s dream in between: bike lanes, multi-use commercial buildings, a riverside road.

The operative word being dream, as some residents pointed out.

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