I have to hand it to Matt Assad and Scott Kraus. They’ve been all over the arena issues and are doing a great job framing the story in the pages of the Morning Call.
Now that resolution is in sight, here’s my last word, for now, on the whole issue.
Townships keep saying “we’re for the arena, we just don’t think our tax money should pay for it.”
I could go with the tried and true appeal to regionalism. Instead, I’ll say, yet again, “it’s not your money in the first place.”
The money is earned in Allentown. Before 1962, it stayed in Allentown. 50 years ago, for reasons that have everything to do with the wholesale government subsidization of White Flight, the townships of Pennsylvania started getting the EIT money their residents earned in the City.
The suburbs have benefited from this swindle for five decades, and for whatever good it’s done for people raised there, it’s also falsely lowered the cost of living and doing business in areas otherwise removed from established urban cores. It’s falsely lowered the cost of turning cornfields into infrastructure and green space into sprawl.
It’s time to change that course, especially with the bumper crop of underwater suburban mortgages and all the studies in the world suggesting that young people and retiring Boomers want to live in walkable urban centers.
It’s true that the legislation that shifted the EIT back where it belongs still smells like backroom smoke. But that doesn’t mean the EIT shouldn’t stay in Allentown or that it shouldn’t help fund revitalization there. The other smell, wafting in from the suburbs, is fear. Township leaders know their communities aren’t finally sustainable the way a revitalized, greener Allentown would be. They know young people don’t want to live in suburbs and retirees don’t want to mow big lawns.
- Whitehall Suing Allentown Over Hockey Arena Plan; Whitehall’s Own Redevelopment Study Cites Allentown Hockey Arena as a Future Ecomic Driver for Whitehall (chriscocca.com)
- A Laboratory for Creative Mission…In Allentown? (mynameismission.org)
- Emily Badger’s Awesome Paragraph About an Old Map and the Retrospective Politics of Place (chriscocca.com)
- Historic Allentown brewery to become major film studio? (chriscocca.com)