Task force focuses on City Lights
After returning from summer break, the Mayor’s South Side Task Force got back to business July 31 with a discussion of the Community Action Development Corp. (CADCB) of Bethlehem’s City Lights neighborhood that is in its initial planning stages. “Both of those cul-de-sacs were cut in years ago by a developer who went broke,” said SSTF Chairman Roger Hudak, adding, “The infrastructure for the buildings is in. In other words, the sewer and water lines are in and the electricity is in underground.” Hudak explained, “They just have to build the houses.” He did mention a concern on how the influx of new families would impact Donegan ES.
Hudak also spoke of the start of Lehigh University’s documentary project about the Renaissance of the Southside and praised Jeff Parks’ recently-released book on the subject.
Estefania Perdomo, representing CADCB, reproted the organization received a grant to purchase the property located on E. Sixth and Seventh streets off of Edward Street that Hudak had mentioned earlier. She passed out flyers for a public meeting scheduled that evening at the Southside Lofts seeking community input on the project. CADCB plans to build affordable housing in the City Lights neighborhood. She also said they are still providing classes for business entrepreneurs among other programs. Information: cadcb.org.
Perdomo introduced marketing intern Maggie Norsworthy who is working on the “Southside Proud” campaign. Norsworthy informed the group that she has found success using social media to call attention to the project. To access information on it, she said just type “Southside Proud” in Facebook, “southsidebethproud” for Instagram, and “#Southsideproud” for Hashtag.
Susan Vitez from the Steelworkers’ Archives announced weekend tours continue through fall for the Bethlehem’s Hoover Mason Trestle walkway. “Steeples and Steel” minibus tours are scheduled for September 15 and November 4 with tours at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Each tour package features an indoor tour of an historic house of worship, a guided tour of selected steel plant sites, and includes an Eastern European goulash lunch. The organization continues to seek to interview former steelworkers for on ongoing oral history project, according to Vitez. Information: steelworkersarchives.com; 610-861-0600.
Representing the mayor was his executive assistant, Stephanie Augello, who introduced herself to the rest of the group. With a parent and grandparent having been employed at Bethlehem Steel, she said she was personally interested in what the Steelworkers’ Archives had to offer.
Tracy Samuelson from the Bethlehem’s community development office reported progress on Lehigh University’s new dorm near Broughal and their proposed science and technology building plans. She also mentioned other projects the university has in the early stages to house their steadily increasing student population.
Samuelson praised Richard Thompson, founder of Factory LLC, as a “visionary.” She described the new enterprise on Columbia Street as an incubator for food-based businesses. According to Samuelson, there are plans to utilize the former Bethlehem Steel shop mill building for evening events.
Gail Mrowinski, Ed,D. Associate Dean, Community Education, Northampton Community College was happy to announce, “Things are finishing up fast and furiously in terms of getting ready,” with the college’s renovations. She said the new Fab Lab is open, as well as a new café in the Southside campus building. She added that a ribbon-cutting event for NCC’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) is scheduled for Sept. 27.
Southside resident Stephan Antalics spoke about city council’s interest in replacing the Christmas lights. He said that he proposed that north and south of the Lehigh River use the same color scheme to represent the unification of the two former boroughs. Antalics said that white lights hang on one side of the river and multiple colors are displayed on the other.
Roger Hudak had injured what he calls his “good knee” while vacationing in New Orleans during the board’s recess and was still “nursing it.” He said, “With this, it’s time I give up some stuff, since I just turned 75.” Hudak announced that he was preparing to inform the mayor of his intention to step down as chairman.
The Mayor’s South Side Task Force meets regularly on the last Tuesday of the month at Northampton Community College’s E. Third street campus. With no meeting scheduled for August, the next one is will be Sept 25.