Macungie To Revisit Downtown Improvement Plan

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

Tom Bartholomew took a bold step when he decided to move his insurance agency from a Lower Macungie strip mall to downtown Macungie, a relocation that is costing him a “substantial” amount of money.

“The [Macungie] building makes a statement,” Bartholomew said. “It’s a 200-year-old building that has stood the test of time. It kind of makes a statement to your clients if you have an investment in your own business.”

Bartholomew and other Macungie business owners are hoping borough officials are willing to make a similar statement. They’ve asked Borough Council to revive its discussion of a downtown “streetscape” plan that has generated little steam since 2008, when a downtown study was completed.

Council decided recently to revisit the streetscape plan and hold a related workshop in March.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/eastpenn/mc-macungie-downtown-improvement-plan-20121226,0,3418106.story

Advertisements

Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield Business District Is Flourishing

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One evening last summer, Rachelle Timarac and a friend went to Bloomfield for pizza.  Other people were walking and hanging out at sidewalk tables on Liberty Avenue.

“There was electricity in the air, and I got a really good vibe,” she said, “but I saw so many vacant storefronts and couldn’t understand why.”

One in particular caught her eye — 4615 Liberty Ave., a former Dollar Tree that had been vacant for almost two years.  Five weeks ago, she opened GoldNGals, an antique jewelry store, there.

It is one of 14 new businesses that have opened in Bloomfield since 2011.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/bloomfield-business-district-is-flourishing-666718/#ixzz2FKdKUsYS

Lehigh County Lands In Economic Growth Top 10

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lehigh County

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

A national economic development firm says Lehigh County is poised for rapid future economic growth and investment.

The Pittsburgh-based company, Fourth Economy, ranked the county seventh in the U.S. among “large-sized” counties with populations between 150,000 and 499,999.

The company ranked counties based on investment, talent, sustainability, place and diversity, and looked at wage and employment growth, education levels, drive times, home values, minority business ownership, agricultural and manufacturing capacity and population density.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-pa-lehigh-county-growth-20121217,0,492217.story

Allentown Waterfront Development Plans Unveiled For $250M In Construction

English: City of Allentown from east side

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

Developers on Tuesday unveiled a $250 million plan to convert Allentown’s long-deteriorating riverfront into a complex of office and residential buildings, a project funded by the one-of-a-kind tax zone that’s powering the downtown hockey arena.

The gritty industrial mish-mash along the west bank of the Lehigh River from Allen Street past the Tilghman Street Bridge would be replaced by The Waterfront, a strip of 12 glass-and-steel office buildings, walking trails and apartments.

Waterfront Redevelopment Partners presented the quarter-billion-dollar plan to the city’s Planning Commission, proposing 610,000 square feet of offices, 130,000 square feet of retail and 172 apartments on a 26-acre property that was home to Lehigh Structural Steel, once an anchor of city industry.

The Waterfront would be linked to Route 22 by the soon-to-be built American Parkway bridge, and expands what city officials hoped would be the companion piece of the Neighborhood Improvement Zone, the financing tool behind downtown revitalization around Seventh and Hamilton streets, site of the arena now under construction.

Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-waterfront-development-lehigh-river-20121211,0,1830155.story

Smart Growth Conference In Pittsburgh Focuses On Transportation, Green Infrastructure And Urban Redevelopment Financing

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week’s 12th annual Southwestern Pennsylvania Smart Growth Conference will focus on three issues its organizers call “make or break” for the region: transportation funding, green infrastructure and urban redevelopment financing.

Pennsylvania Transportation Secretary Barry Schoch will be a featured speaker at the event, scheduled for 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

The General Assembly and Gov. Tom Corbett are expected to take up transportation funding in the coming session.  Funding cutbacks and shortfalls have caused a decline in road quality across the state and threaten to arrest progress in repairing structurally deficient bridges.

Public transit systems, including the Port Authority of Allegheny County, have struggled financially and been forced to raise fares and reduce service.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/news/transportation/smart-growth-conference-in-pittsburgh-focuses-on-transportation-infrastructure-665723/#ixzz2EfaBizzb

Highlands At Archbald Already Benefiting Borough

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

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

Nearly two years after the start of construction, a $50 million plan to convert 500 acres into homes in Archbald is already paying off for the borough.

“The increased tax base is the reason we don’t have to raise taxes,” said council President Joe Simon, referring to the 2013 budget.

As the development grows, the tax rate will remain stable, he said, explaining that he anticipates an increase in the borough tax base due to the added homes.

“Once we get some tenants in there, Archbald will be in good shape in the coming years,” he said.

Read more:  http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/highlands-at-archbald-already-benefiting-borough-1.1411253