Bethlehem Press

Wednesday, October 17, 2018
press photo by nate jastrzemskiThe sign awarded to Bethlehem for being named the first Community of Distinction by LVPC, largely for its redevelopment of the Southside brownfields. Bushkill Township won in 2015, South Whitehall Township won in 2016, and Catasauqua Borough won in 2017. press photo by nate jastrzemskiThe sign awarded to Bethlehem for being named the first Community of Distinction by LVPC, largely for its redevelopment of the Southside brownfields. Bushkill Township won in 2015, South Whitehall Township won in 2016, and Catasauqua Borough won in 2017.

Sign presented for 2014 Community of Distinction

Monday, October 8, 2018 by Nate Jastrzemski njastrzemski@tnonline.com in Local News

Having successfully clawed its way out of the desperate years following the collapse of the Bethlehem Steel Corp., the city has since rejuvenated itself and become something of an example to other communities suffering the loss of major businesses. In 2014, Bethlehem was the first municipality honored by the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission and named a Community of Distinction for its recovery and redevelopment efforts.

Other communities have followed since, and Sept. 12 at city hall it was revealed they will be able to display their accomplishments with a new LVPC-presented sign. Though hardly showy, the sign is a testament to the hard work and diligence of local employees and a representation of good stewardship and a healthy financial environment to businesses.

LVPC Executive Director Becky Bradley said to qualify, municipalities must adhere to their own stringent comprehensive plans and laws as well as the overall two-county plan used throughout the Lehigh Valley. She said these are not easy tasks, as they pertain to everything; housing, environment, roads and bridges, economy, recreation, water and countless other categories.

“This is a testament to the employees and everything they do,” Bradley said. “Obviously the business community feels good about the leadership and location for a variety of reasons for investing here. They’re smart about what they do; they look at educational attainment, workforce statistics, to average home values to median income. They work hard too, to maintain the economic and social profile of the region. So it’s their award too. Even small things contribute to this larger vision.

“Community pride cannot be undersold,” Bradley said.