21 Responses

12.15.10

Your Comments

Looks nice but how about the other dilapidated buildings and
low life’s downtown. Do you really think that one building is going
to change the face of this derelict environment? As long as they
keep allowing Pawn Shops with Neon Lights in their windows
I highly doubt it.

12.15.10

Thanks for your comment, Connie. I don’t believe transforming a town is about getting rid of people or places as much as it is changing the balance of positive over negative. Yes, there are some buildings that are in bad shape downtown. This is no different than most small towns across the country. This is what happened after people decided the suburbs were a better place to invest their money. Until that mentality changes, nothing will get better.

Fortunately, the mentality has started to change. There are good things happening all the time. Those are the things I will show here. I think you’re either part of the solution or part of the problem. I’m trying really hard to be part of the solution. I hope you will, too.

12.15.10

Your Comments

I appreciate your comment however I think this circle of people have
to get their heads out of the sand!

Some buildings are bad? How about 90% of the buildings, If
Bethlehem thought the same way as Easton and allowed every Tom, Dick
and Harry in at low rent they wouldn’t be where they are today. I think
they should take a lesson and communicate with the business community, get some ideas and follow in their footsteps.

Talk to the people outside of the Easton area and they refuse to visit downtown because they are afraid. Believe me there is no one more anxious to see a revitalization of Easton but I really think there has to be a reality check and consider who you are renting to if you want this to take off.

12.15.10

If people outside of Easton really refused to visit downtown, our restaurants wouldn’t be packed, parking would be no problem and plenty of local merchants would be out of business.

Of course everything is not perfect in Easton, but things are definitely moving in the right direction. It’s easy to point out the negative and be hyperbolic (90% of buildings are dilapidated?!). It’s a lot harder to come up with constructive solutions.

Absentee landlords are a problem in a lot of areas, but downtown Easton has more to offer than cheap housing (and as someone who has rented downtown, I’d say the prices aren’t exactly bargain basement). Many of the eyesore buildings have been rehabbed.

Engaging the business community is also important – but talk to the owners in downtown Easton and they will tell you how happy they are with a mayor who works to get people downtown. The recent rail jam event alone brought hundreds of people out! None of them seemed particularly fearful and local businesses definitely enjoyed the foot traffic!

The cities in the Lehigh Valley aren’t in competition with each other. They are all unique and offer different things to different populations. Easton will never be Bethlehem – and that’s OK with me.

12.15.10

Your Comments

Re: the negative stigmas and stereotypes concerning Easton. They are actually fun to read….we certainly know that accent. If nothing else, they always say more about the critic than about our fine community which is a beloved home to the most diverse American community in the two counties of Northampton and Lehigh – according to the U.S. Census realities.

12.15.10

As an Easton resident and business owner, I appreciate every bit of revitalization that happens in the city, especially the Pomeroy building because of its proximity to the Square, and my store. Personally, I appreciate Easton for the city that it is, the people who live and work here, and the businesses who choose to invest their livelihoods here.

Our city is not without its problems, but I don’t agree that 90% of our buildings are bad (have you seen North 2nd Street and Spring Garden? Gorgeous!) and that we are overrun with “low life’s”. There were decisions made within the city government 20+ years ago to allow a certain amount of Sect. 8 housing and group homes to be developed downtown, and we certainly feel the repercussions of those decisions today. But, what is wonderful about the Easton community is that it is an accepting, creative, lively group to be a part of, and we don’t reject our neighbors because of their economic status or mental health condition.

Bethlehem made some zoning decisions that allows Historic Bethlehem to look the way it does. I think Easton could certainly learn from that. But I’m fairly sure no one has their head in the sand regarding issues of zoning and signage. I think we’re working on it, while still trying to remain true to the fact that Easton is an urban center, and not a mall.

Connie, i’m sorry you don’t want to come to Easton. I hope you’ll change your mind. We have amazing restaurants and shops and galleries, the #1 Farmer’s Market in the state, and awesome events like the Rail Jam that just happened a couple of weekends ago. Our people are friendly, and we even have smiling Ambassadors who are happy to show you around.

1 sunny weekend in town, and i promise you’ll change your mind 🙂

12.15.10

Connie,

I think that part of the problem with people who “refuse” to visit downtown Easton is that the either read the sensationalized headlines in the newspapers or they listen to their neighbors who live their lives based on fear.

I have lived downtown in Easton for 15 years. My husband I have started 3 businesses (home based out of print book business), Easton Yoga (www.eastonyoga.com , 10 years in business) and Preservation Works, Historic Masonry and Paster Restoration (beginning it’s 4th year in business http://www.preservationworks.us) My family is responsible for countless building restorations and businesses (Pearly Bakers 15+ yrs , Porter’s Pub 20 years) as well.

I travel a lot and have friends visit me all the time. They love Easton…they choose to see the charm and many people who live and work in downtown are not from here, they CHOOSE to live here to be a part of the community.

In addition our whole country has strong dividing lines between poverty, mental health care deficiencies and housing issues.

This is not to say i support slumlords, and there are a lot of them that own buildings while they conveniently live in the suburbs….they collect checks from the government for providing deplorable living conditions and then talk badly about how down town id awful and unsafe when they don;t even live here.

as far as controlling what businesses come in, this is America, owning businesses for many families is as part of the American Dream as owning a home. And i have seen VERY well financed businesses go close due to bad business hours, poor management and unrealistic ideas at how long it takes to get a business to be sustainable. and we have the HDC which regulated new business but cannot go after pre-existing signage…if you don’t like that PLEASE write the mayor and city council- and show up with your vote at the next election.

And further more i have taken to asking people who say how bad downtown is, “when was the last time something ‘bad’ happened to you or someone you KNOW downtown.” For most the answer is never, or they have not even been downtown they just ‘hear’ things.

We all should want a vibrant downtown, so the next time you (or your friends/family) get in your car to go to the mall, or to eat at a chain restaurant stop and think if there is anyway you could spend your dollars at a local downtown business?

Or make a positive contribution by volunteering for the farmer’s market or The Main Street Initiative (http://www.eastonmainstreet.org/)…just a few hours every month helps.

12.15.10

I’ve been coming to Easton for the last 30 years of my life. I can tell you without a doubt that the positive changes are there. They are real. They are tangible. Is it perfect? nope. And I hope it never is. If you want a perfect downtown, you have to go to Orlando and visit Mickey (and that is just a fiberglass facade). Easton has become a fantastic community with real people who love and care for the area. This was done one storefront at a time. Yes, even with a few “dilapidated” buildings, the Crayola Factory still went up. The State Theatre still has sold out shows. Read Laini’s Guide and you’ll see just what is happening there. Even with a few imperfections, Easton still shines.

12.15.10

Thankfully, no town or city will be the Disney-esque setting of shoppes and boites that suburban yuppies long for. Easton is a nasty little city and that is part of it’s charm. It’s not for everybody, just like malls and Promenades are not for everybody. Most Americans don’t like Real. Most Americans are afraid. Good people live in Easton, love Easton and work to make it better.

12.15.10

Thank you everyone for your comments! This thread right here exemplifies the awesomeness of downtown Easton and those who make it that way.

Connie, I will just add one more thing, if you will send me your address, (laini@littlepocketguide.com), I’ll mail you a free pocket guide to Easton. I agree with everyone. If you spend a little more time here, you may find that there’s way more good businesses and people than you had any idea existed.

12.15.10

in my opinion, connie, revitalizing and changing an area, in which you feel is not worth traveling to, starts with just one building…and another…and another…and another. soon, it just might please you – but make no mistake, connie, every tom, dick, and harry is what makes a community a community.

if bethlehem is THAT particular about who rents and who can have business, sooner or later THAT town will look like EASTON of the 70’s. certain people in easton decided to weed out certain people and their business, and it was very unpleasant for easton for many years.

12.15.10

Oh, and here’s the link to the walking tour of the neighborhood Jane mentioned. It’s in the book, too. 🙂

http://www.littlepocketguide.com/welcome-to-the-jewel-box-a-walking-tour-of-one-of-downtown-eastons-most-fantastic-neighborhoods/

12.15.10

Easton is a historical, friendly, ever-changing, something-special, part of America…..(here is where I get politically-unfriendly)….if you dont like it here, pls leave.

12.15.10

As someone who lives in Easton and owns a business downtown, I must disagree with Connie. This is an amazingly diverse community that is kind and supportive. Our business has grown steadily since opening in Easton. The foot traffic continues to grow, as does the number of people living downtown. We live, socialize, and work in Easton and love it. Don’t know what bad experiences you’ve had in Easton, but I must agree with Timothy and Michelle on this one…this is a great town and getting better all the time thanks to the people who continue to live and invest here.

12.15.10

I’ve been a resident of Easton for my whole life, and most recently living downtown for the past 3+ years. I can’t disagree more with Connie and people of that school of thought. Yes, every urban (and suburban! …and rural too!) living situation is going to have its ups and downs, its ‘dilapidated buildings and
low life’s’. But I for one would abhor living in a facade of a ‘perfect town.’

One of my favorite parts of living downtown is venturing out and just walking around with my dog for hours on those first warm spring days. Nothing compares to the way that Easton comes alive when the sun comes out. The Connies of the world might see low-lifes and dilapidated buildings, but I see interesting characters, most of which are very friendly people, and a city scape that is fascinating in it’s imperfections.

Connie, I’ve really having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of people being ‘afraid’ of downtown Easton. I think you are the one that needs to take their head out of the sand.

12.15.10

I must say that I agree with Timothy, Alicia and Ron. I feel fortunate to know them and see the changes for the better that they help create in Easton. There are so many positive things that happen in Easton. The EFM, State Theater, Crayola Factory. The festivals, the small town feel. People who know eachother by name. We watch eachother walking around pregnant, celebrate eachothers childrens birthdays and we marvel at where the time had gone when we realize just how old so and so’s ‘baby’ is now. We have a vibrant restaurant scene. There is an incredible artist enclave. It feels like a typical neighborhood. Yes it has it’s problems, but honestly from what I read in the papers, it doesn’t seem that Allentown or Bethlehem are any better. They have violence, drugs, and derelict buildings as well. However, there is no reason to avoid coming to Easton, by doing so you only deprive yourself of everything Easton DOES have to offer!! So get your head out of the sand, come down for some dinner, take in a show, or take a walk around town on a nice day and check out the museum, shops, bookstores, the playgrounds by the rivers…. Hmm I could go on and on…

12.15.10

I still call it Laubach’s.

12.15.10

Your Comments As the Director of Lafayette’s Landis Center, I work with many students who not only participate in service projects in Easton but also in other areas of Civic Engagement and what they call the “lifeblood” of the community. Their connections to downtown through the hospitality of shop and cafe owners, the No-Name Community, activities such as the Snow Day, and their personal connections with Sal Panto have greatly changed their perceptions of Downtown. Gone are the days when Orientation Leaders tell the fist years that Easton is “shady.” Instead the first years are brought downtown to have ice cream with the Mayor at the Purple Cow, coffee with Manuel at the Terra Cafe and dinner with community leaders at the UCC Church. Times are a changing…

12.15.10

I agree with both sides of the issue at hand here. Yes, Easton is full of degenerate scumbags and there are too many group homes, subsidized housing, and flea/scumbag infested “hotels” in or near downtown. I work the overnight shift in one of the public services and trust me, I see and visit first hand what many of you fear and/or are deny exists in Easton. Trust me, beautiful Centre Square/downtown isn’t so beautiful after midnight.

On the other hand, visiting the City during business hours is simply amazing. It’s like an entirely different place: the sights, the history, the newly-renovated riverfront area, the tourists, etc. Unfortunately, all the upstanding people flee to the suburbs of Forks and Palmer at the end of the day and you are left with the welfare-collecting degenerates and drunken Lafayette College assholes .

Personally, I won’t walk the streets of Easton day or night without carrying both of my concealed weapons (yes, I have a license to carry a concealed firearm). Which reminds me why I got into guns in the first place- I never felt the desire to own a gun until I moved to downtown Easton.

But all in all, yes Easton has improved- especially within the past decade. For all the naysayers- present day Easton is like a paradise compared to what it was in the 80’s. Back in the 70’s, no one around here went to Allentown to shop. There was no Northampton Crossings. Downtown Easton was the hub of the Eastern Lehigh Valley and it was beautiful. I think it’s well on it’s way to becoming a “destination” once more.

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