OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe City of Allentown, the Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown, eight funding partners including several local banks, foundations and residents recently announced the approval of a new six-year, $3.3 million initiative aimed at revitalizing the remainder of Center City Allentown.

The Community Action Development Corporation of Allentown has been approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to provide an 80% credit on business taxes paid to the Commonwealth under the Neighborhood Partnership Program.  Through a series of meetings which included input from the public, the City has developed a plan on how communities can be improved through the initiative.

The Center City Initiative has commitments from eight companies over the next six years: Air Products and Chemicals, National Penn Bancshares and PPL have committed $100,000 per year while Alvin H. Butz, Inc., City Center Lehigh Valley, Susquehanna Bank, TD Bank and Wells Fargo have each committed $50,000.

“The ultimate test of a successful city is the quality of life the city’s residents’ experience,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “We have work to do, there is little doubt, but we have assembled an amazing team of talented people who, with some creativity and financial support, are quite capable of completing Allentown’s resurgence.”

A steering committee, co-chaired by Seventh Street Attorney Rebecca Torres and Don Bernhard, who directs a coalition of business leaders and charitable foundations, will guide the project.  There are seven committees made up of over 100 people working on implementing the plan, which include: Physical Enhancements, Housing, Economic Development and Employment, Education, Public Safety, Marketing, and Arts and Culture.

Some important goals of the initiative include changing the negative perception of safety downtown, encouraging residents to purchase homes or start a business, become more active in civic affairs in the City, and encourage people to visit downtown for entertainment, recreation, arts and culture.  The initiative will cover the area bounded by the Jordan Creek, 12th Street, MLK Drive, and Tilghman Street, which includes Jordan Heights, the Seventh Street Corridor, the Old Allentown and Old Fairgrounds Historic Districts, and the Hamilton District.

The groups behind the initiative hope to accomplish the following results for the designated area:  increased residential property values; reduced crime; reduced housing vacancy; low commercial vacancy rate; increased incomes; decreased unemployment; fewer substandard housing conditions; increased quality of life; increased private investment; more community engagement; and an expanded real estate tax base.




Shula's SteakhouseFans of Shula’s Steakhouse will no longer have to trek to the Promenade Shops in Saucon Valley this summer to enjoy their favorite Restaurant.  Shula’s recently announced that they will be relocating to the ground floor of Strata Flats, the luxury apartment building currently being constructed on 7th Street across from the PPL Arena and Allentown Arts Walk.

Started by Hall of Fame Football Coach Don Shula, the 8,600 square-foot dining space becomes the first tenant of Four Center City, also known as Strata Flats, which will house over 250 residents.  Four City Center is the newest addition to City Center Investments Corporation’s series of downtown buildings built within the Neighborhood Improvement Zone.  All 65 employees at the current location will relocate to downtown Allentown.

“It is not every day you get a national chain moving into your downtown that is as good as Shula’s,” Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski said. “It is definitely not every day they move from the Promenade Shops and open up in downtown Allentown.”

The restaurant will feature an extensive wrap around patio for outdoor dining in the warmer weather, an upscale dining room and bar, and valet parking for the convenience of patrons.  Shula’s management expects to draw from future tenants of Strata Flats, surrounding office workers, those attending events at PPL Arena as well as guests of the soon-to-open Marriott Renaissance Hotel.  They also expect current diners to visit the downtown location, where they will be able to discover the many dining options also available.

Local Shula’s owner Kostas Kalogeropoulos thinks it’s the perfect time to relocate the restaurant, having floated ideas for revitalizing downtown since Mayor Roy Afflerbach’s Administration.  Having seen the development that has already occurred, he pitched the idea to David Shula, President of the Steak House chain, who had heard about what was happening downtown on National Public Radio, before visiting here to see for himself.  “No brainer, let’s make it happen,” Shula said.



Lights in the ParkwayAllentown’s favorite holiday tradition has returned as Lights In The Parkway is once again delighting kids of all ages.  The excursion of over a mile through one of Allentown’s most beautiful parks, the Lehigh Parkway, features larger-than-life displays, tunnels and familiar holiday scenes.  Families can enjoy the spectacular light show, featuring thousands of brilliant lights, in the comfort of their own cars. Dazzling new animated displays are now part of this winter wonderland, set to music that you can listen to on your car radio.  “Lights” returns for its 19th season this year.

“This will get any Grinch into the holiday spirit,” said Mayor Pawlowski.   “There are several new displays this year, and it truly is an awesome sight for kids.  If you haven’t visited, ‘Lights In The Parkway,’ do it this year and make it a holiday tradition, like so many across the Valley do.  You’ll not be disappointed.”

Lights In The Parkway is open until Sunday, December 28th, every day except Christmas Day, from 5:30 pm to 10 pm.

Admission is $12 per car, and $22 per commercial van, minibus and limo. A $2.00 off coupon is available at Cash or check only is accepted at the ticket booth, although cash is preferred.  Advanced sale discount tickets for $10 and $20 are available at Wegman’s Stores in Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, At Allentown City Hall, and all locations of Allentown Federal Credit union.

Lights in the Parkway has entered a new era with the commitment to use energy-efficient LED lights in all new displays and to begin converting all existing displays to LED. LED lights use 85% less energy than traditional bulbs and last about four times longer.

After enjoying the light display, don’t forget to stop by the Gift Barn at the end of the route, which features a large selection of one-of-a-king decorations, ornaments and holiday collectibles for everyone on your holiday shopping list.  Hot Chocolate, popcorn, cookies and other refreshments are available inside the Gift Barn.  Santa will be available for pictures in the Gift Barn Thursday through Sunday from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm through December 23rd.  Credit Cards are accepted in the Gift Barn.

Special thanks to Jason Hertz, City of Allentown’s Parks Department Supervisor and his crew for all their hard work in creating this magical display.

Lights in the Parkway is sponsored by Allentown Federal Credit Union, Butz Construction, Service Electric Cable TV, 100.7 LEV and CAT Country 96, Run Lehigh Valley, Boyle Construction, The Morning Call, iHeart Media, Waste Management, 69 News and, Viamedia, Rileighs Outdoor Décor, Yocco’s The Hotdog King and powered by The Express-Times.



shfb_logoPA Society, the annual gathering of politicos from across the state in Manhattan, had a new twist this year.  Mayor Ed Pawlowski helped to organize an event to raise money for Food Banks in the Commonwealth, including Second Harvest Food Bank here in the Lehigh Valley.  “Mayors Against Hunger” was hosted by Mayor Pawlowski, Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.  Over $60,000 was raised for Second Harvest, while over $200,000 total was raised at the event.

The “Cocktails For a Cause” reception was held at the Park Lane Hotel on Central Park South, and was attended by over 200 people.  Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and Chester Mayor John Linder made up the host committee.  New York businessman and part-time Allentown resident Nicola Bulgari, who runs the Bulgari Watch empire, served as the sponsor of the event.

“We decided instead of the usual receptions, we might as well raise some money for a good cause,” said Mayor Pawlowski.  “The response was overwhelming.  We still got to mingle as usual, but at the same time raised money for our local food banks, who could always use more funding.  It was very rewarding event.”

Mayor Nutter said, “Food banks are an important avenue for many families and individuals struggling with hunger and poverty.  This was a unique opportunity to demonstrate our sincere commitment to supporting vulnerable individuals by hosting a fundraising event at PA Society.  I am moved by the generosity of so many and am proud that the money raised will help food banks across the Commonwealth, including Philabundance.”

Each Mayor was charged with finding a local food bank in their city that was willing to participate.  All proceeds from the fundraising event will go to these participating food banks.  Second Harvest in Allentown, Philabundance in Philadelphia, and Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank are just some of the organizations who received significant donations.

“I am proud of the support that Pittsburgh has shown for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.   “I am grateful to be able to take the opportunity to participate with many of Pennsylvania’s leaders to help those most in need.”

Alan Jennings, Executive Director of Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, which runs the Second Harvest Food Bank, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event. “Today’s mayors face extraordinary challenges,” he said.  “It speaks to these mayors’ sense of compassion and humanity that they made this special effort to uplift their poorest citizens.”




seasons-greetings-25This will be our last Pawlowski Press of the year.  Mayor Ed Pawlowski would like to pass on the following message:

“As we enter this holiday season, I hope everyone appreciates what they have in their lives.  Here in Allentown, we have done remarkable work in revitalizing our downtown.  We saw the Eagles open the PPL Arena and the first puck drop for our new hockey team, the Philadelphia Phantoms.  I have called this version of our City “Allentown 4.0,” and this is just the beginning.  I’d like to thank every single person who helped plan, design, and build all the new structures downtown, and the residents and small business owners who believed in our vision and who put up with all the distractions during construction.

We have made tremendous progress this year, but this is just the beginning.  Next year will see the opening of our new downtown Marriott Renaissance Hotel, the opening of the American Parkway Bridge, and the start of construction along our waterfront.  The prospect of a great 2015 is shining bright like a beacon drawing people back to Allentown once again to live, work and play.  Next year will also be a prosperous one for our Commonwealth, with Governor Tom Wolf taking the reigns and leading our state back on the road to prosperity.

During this holiday season, let’s remember those less fortunate who need shelter, food, clothing, and toys for their children.  Please remember that this is the season of giving, and your kindness could mean all the difference to someone in need.

I wish all of you a wonderful and safe holiday season and the happiest of new years, from my family to yours. “