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Reindustrialization Study to be Presented

11/11/2013
Reindustrialization Study to be Presented

The City of Allentown Department of Community and Economic Development and Allentown Economic Development Corporation will hold a public meeting on Thursday, November 14 at 6:00pm in the auditorium of the Lehigh Valley Health Network facilities at 2100 Mack Boulevard to present and accept comments on a draft strategy targeted toward retaining and attracting industrial jobs back to the city.

The Reindustrialization plan has been prepared by a consulting team directed by an economic development firm of Camoin Associates of Saratoga Spring, New York and oversight by an advisory committee representing Allentown’s manufacturing community, educational institutions, economic development agencies and others. The program is one of several funded under a Regional Sustainability Planning Grant received from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development under the auspices of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation.

Providing well-paying job opportunities in areas accessible to city residents by walking, bicycling and public transit is the overriding goal of the program. Changes in energy availability, rising wages overseas, and increased productivity through technology have begun to return industrial production to the United States. “Allentown’s interest,” Mayor Ed Pawlowski said, “is to capture some of that production to increase resident employment opportunities and incomes, and strengthen its tax bases. The plan will also enhance the programming of the city’s Enterprise Zone and its focus on manufacturing.”

To fully understand the dynamics of the regional and local industrial economy and workforce, the planning program has relied on extensive interviews with Allentown manufacturers, Lehigh Valley economic development agencies, educational institutions, realtors and developers. The consultants also conducted a reconnaissance of the city’s industrial land and buildings and provided an assessment of the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center; a small business incubator managed by Allentown Economic Development Corporation. The planning program has been facilitated by the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development and Allentown Economic Development Corporation. The plan began in the second quarter of this year and will be completed in the second quarter of next year.

The planning program has three components including:

• Component I: A City Wide reindustrialization plan.
• Component II : Using the principles in part 1 create a detailed plan for the Little Lehigh Creek Corridor
• Component III: Assess individual buildings and sites for industrial development opportunities.

The public meeting will feature:

• A presentation by the consulting team on its finding and recommendations for providing industrial employment opportunities in the city.
• An introduction to Phase II, Opportunities for Reindustrializing the Little Lehigh Corridor
• An opportunity for the public to comment and ask questions on the plan.

The draft report will be available on the city’s website. Public comment will be accepted until November 28. Questions concerning the November 14 public meeting or the Reindustrialization program should be directed to the city Bureau of Planning and Zoning at 610-437-7613 or Alan.Salinger@allentownpa.gov.
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