Lehigh Valley

Does Allentown have a perception problem?

Does Allentown have a perception problem?

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - With a new arena and lots of new development projects, there's a lot to look forward to in Allentown, but some say parts of the city are still struggling, and at least one official says the problem is perception.

A decade ago, a fire burned much of North Street, and construction continues in building new town homes. Inside, new kitchens, updated floor plans and plenty of space dominate the units.

The income-restricted homes were built by the Allentown Housing Association and Development Corporation in an effort to transform the neighborhood. Realtor Anthony Ramos said it's the best deal in center city.

"You're getting brand new construction, which in center city Allentown, there is not much of," he said.

Homes on one side of the street, built in 2006, have all sold, but on the other side, 10 of the 12 town homes are still for sale.

David Evans, of the Allentown Housing Association and Development Corporation,  called it a perception problem.

"Reports we get back from the real estate agents are things like absolutely marvelous job, great buy, the price is right but wrong neighborhood," Evans said.

The street is in the heart of center city Allentown, near areas where 69 News may go for the wrong reason, however, it was the right neighborhood for Bernard and Dilcia Drisker. The couple moved there in 2006

"This is convenience. Everything is here for us," said Bernard Drisker, adding that he feels safe in the neighborhood.

Police said the street has low crime, but the surrounding neighborhoods do have their issues.

The city is working on a plan to ensure the poorest neighborhoods aren't forgotten in the shadow of the hockey arena.

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