Heart of the CityThe City of Allentown recently announced that funding is now in place for improvements to the 500 and 600 blocks of Chew Street thanks to a combination of money from several sources, including Sacred Heart HealthCare System, which comprises the entire 400 block of Chew Street and is the namesake of the “Heart of the City” neighborhood.  The 500 and 600 blocks of Chew Street are a key corridor that connects Sacred Heart Hospital’s campus to Allentown’s Seventh Street Main Street Program.

The State of Pennsylvania is providing $300,000 to Sacred Heart through the Multimodal Transportation Fund.   The City of Allentown is contributing $100,000 in capital funds while Sacred Heart has committed $75,000 to the streetscape project which will increase pedestrian safety to two major intersections.

“Our neighborhoods are the lifeblood of the city,” said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski.  “At the core, the services we provide on a daily basis are for the residents of our neighborhoods.  If we are going to continue to grow as a city, then we have to meet the needs of our neighborhoods.”

The streetscape improvements include 34 new pedestrian scale streetlights identical to the ones located throughout the grounds of Sacred Heart Hospital, the replacement of 40 new shade trees to replace the 24 dying or overgrown trees, and the repaving and restriping of the 500 and 600 blocks of Chew Street.

Pedestrian safety improvements include 19 new Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) approved handicapped ramps installed at those intersections that do not have the modern ramps, and the installation of high-visibility crosswalks at the 6th and chew and 7th and Chew intersections.  Joining Mayor Pawlowski at a press conference to announce the upgrades were Sacred Heart Healthcare System President and CEO John Nespolit, State Senator and Allentown resident Mike Schlossberg, and Republican State Senator and Allentown native Pat Browne.

“This streetscape improvement plan will increase property values, enhance safety and increase the livability and commerce in the Heart of the City neighborhood,” said Schlossberg.  “It represents yet another major commitment to the area from Mayor Pawlowski, Senator Browne and me.  It also serves as a demonstration of the importance of the transportation plan that I voted for last year.  It’s also worth noting that gas is $.30 cheaper today than it was when we enacted Act 89.  For anyone who questions why we voted for these transportation improvements, here is yet another answer.”