By Al Lowe
Contributing Writer 

Allentown making progress in turning around neighborhood


Allentown Community Development Corp. board president Judy Hackel wants to attract new businesses and young families to move to her neighborhood.

She mentioned improvements made recently to Allentown at the CDC's regular meeting on June 30.

Ms. Hackel hopes to reverse the negative perception of Allentown as being unattractive and victimized by many crimes. The neighborhood is much safer after the former Allentown Hostel was converted into the Zone 3 police station. Violent crime, prostitution and most other crimes between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. have been greatly reduced.

She and other volunteers have also been working on the area's beautification.

Volunteers recently worked to clear debris on Arlington Avenue from Warrington Avenue to Hartford Street. "There were 62 bags of garbage," Ms. Hackel said.

They also cleaned Arlington from McArdle Roadway to Warrington. This is a major gateway to Allentown and at times has looked "scarey," Ms. Hackel said.

They also painted the steps at Brosville Road and Warrington and built a retaining wall. Other projects included adding landscaping at the Daily Mart.

Greg Panza, project manager, Mount Washington Community Development Corporation, provided assistance and helped to obtain funding for improvements. He had helped the neighborhood as a volunteer some years ago, before he was hired as a MWCDC employee.

The Warrington Avenue Farm Stand is operating in the parking lot at the Hilltop Senior Center, 631 East Warrington Ave., each Thursday afternoon during the summer.

Attendee Cynthia Carioli, the senior center's coordinator, was asked how the farm stand was faring. "It's building. We love it. Sometimes people don't realize that not everything is harvested at the same time."

At the Grandview Park Community Day volunteers passed out flyers and free apples.

State Rep. Jake Wheatley recently visited the Hilltop Center to host an ice cream social, assisted by his staff and young volunteers. Ms. Carioli told the seniors Mr. Wheatley had recently trained for and participated in a marathon. He spoke that day with Mary Kruhm, an ardent Steeler fan whose 100

th birthday was recently celebrated at the center.

One senior who was there was impressed by Mr. Wheatley's warning the recently passed budget may have some negative repercussions that might affect them. He told them to contact his office if they had problems and he would try to resolve them.

The annual National Night Out is scheduled at the center on Aug. 3. It is sponsored by the Allentown CDC. Last year, more than 250 persons attended.

Continuing with the announcements, Ms. Hackel noted a new business – Diva's International Hair Salon – has opened at 815 Warrington Avenue.

St. Rocco's International Festival, with music, food, a mass and a parade, will be held at Grandview Park at 2 p.m. Aug. 14.

Work on the two parking lots, along with the landscaping, is nearly complete at the Zone 3 Police Station.


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