A grassroots effort to preserve Bethlehem’s past while ensuring its economic future.
An historic Bethlehem Steel building No. 8 Hammer Shop (Electric Furnace Shop), originally slated for adaptive reuse, is threatened with demolition by the proposed ArtsQuest plan despite the fact that the PHMC has determined that the building's condition is suitable for rehabilitation AND it would actually be cheaper to rehab than demolish and build new (when 20% federal historic tax credit is used) Using their figures it is clear that a $6.7M federal historic tax credit would be available, making the rehab project total cost $27,171,000 or slightly CHEAPER than new construction And, 501(c)(3)'s use these credits all the time, as described here.
PHMC also reviewed their submitted Building Condition Assessment report in detail and determined "Although the Structural Condition Assessment report revealed deterioration, nothing in the report indicated that rehabilitation and reuse was not possible." It is also important to remember that 3.72 extra jobs are created for every $1M spent on a rehab project vs. new construction, since more dollars are spent on local labor and less on importing materials from distant regions So in this case, 126 extra local construction jobs would be created - and then these workers will spend their income at local shops and restaurants, further multiplying the positive local economic effect.
If this plan moves ahead as proposed, this historic structure will be lost, setting a dangerous precedent for future development on this nationally-significant site (listed as one of America's 11 Most Endangered sites in 2004) The proposed programming will be a wonderful asset to the community, but the project must be respectful of “place” –- it is called "SteelStacks" and is located in view of the 5 remaining blast furnaces We believe that if you want to “gain” from the historic fabric, you shouldn’t be tearing it down at the same time when a viable alternative is available.
A public meeting, which will present both sides, is scheduled for September 8 at the Wilbur Mansion in South Bethlehem (see flyer for details) We urge all to attend.
“People will not look forward to posterity, who never look backward to their ancestors.”
— Edmund Burke
the Steel Store
A detailed scale model of the proposed
redevelopment is currently on display in the main lobby of Bethlehem City
Our elected officials need to hear your opinion
Please click here
to download a printable sample letter to Governor Rendell (21k .doc
This is an exciting time for Bethlehem and the region because the community will finally have an opportunity to help craft their own destiny, ensuring a sustainable future and allowing our sons and daughters to walk among the structures that made Bethlehem and America what it is today.
Please explore the links at left for more information,
Thank you for your support!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photograph of the West End as viewed from the Pennsylvania
Route 378 Lehigh River Bridge ©
James E. Frizzell,
April 18, 2001 used by permission.
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