Allentown's Lehigh River Master Plan wins award

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Published: Oct 22 2013 04:58:59 PM EDT
Developers have high hopes for Waterfront real estate
ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

Allentown’s “Lehigh Riverfront Master Plan” has been awarded a Certificate of Merit from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association.

It is being called an example of "the best and brightest" in planning in Pennsylvania this year.

The certificate was awarded Tuesday at the chapter's annual conference at the Harrisburg Hilton.

It was given in the category of “Planning Excellence – Plan Other Than a Comprehensive Plan.”

According to the letter notifying the city of the award, “The PA Chapter Awards Committee believes this work exemplifies the best and brightest in Pennsylvania Planning in 2013."

The waterfront is part of the city’s innovative Neighborhood Improvement Zone, or NIZ, where all local tax revenues except real estate can be captured by property owners to pay for building projects.

Developers hope to break ground in the spring of 2014 on a proposed $300 million riverfront development of office buildings, retail shops and apartments -- which is just one project that may evolve under the guidelines of that master plan.

Mayor Ed Pawlowski accepted the honor, telling the nearly 300 attendees: “On behalf of City of Allentown Department of Community & Economic Development Director Sara Hailstone, Planning & Zoning Director Mike Hefele, Chief Planner Alan Salinger, Planner Mark Hartney and the rest of the staff, it is my pleasure to accept this Certificate of Merit.

"I also want to publically acknowledge Keith Weaver and the consulting team from EDSA of Baltimore for their fine work on the city’s Riverfront Master Plan.”

The Pennsylvania chapter is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization for the promotion of planning, and for professional planners and planning officials in the state.