“of great concern to the neighborhood folk near campus” (4)

(4th in a series of posts about Lehigh University)

Gadfly, thank you for this, and for your energy and advocacy. If I might just add: there is one piece missing, and it is of great concern to the neighborhood folk near [Lehigh’s] campus, and that is our expectation that Lehigh will begin knocking down homes to create more parking on the fringes of campus, but in our neighborhoods. It’s not an unconfirmed rumor, but it’s a long-term plan; just not sure how long-term that may be. Note how many homes Lehigh has bought up in the area near Alumni Hall, for example . . . . This is a HUGE concern of some of us, who see the Lehigh sprawl threatening usable family homes that are definitely in demand on the Southside (if they are not taken over by the big companies who only rent to students, whether that’s legal or not!). Will you bring this up in your next flight to council? This is a concern that neighbors are expressing; and some are beginning to say maybe it’s time to just move. Could we all work together to STABILIZE neighborhoods, assure affordable housing for many, and be good neighbors to one another?

 

Gadfly will not normally publish anonymous comments, but the writer here is known to him and the wish for anonymity is understandable and valid.

4 thoughts on ““of great concern to the neighborhood folk near campus” (4)

  1. Yes, neighborhoods are often the sacrificial lamb in instances of so-called progress and economic development. That has to stop. Quality of life is eroded. It causes one to wonder why residents are sacrificed at the expense of institutions and businesses. It is particularly disconcerting when properties are removed from the tax rolls and a greater burden is placed on those that remain.

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  2. Remember, after years of saying they had no need for off-campus parking (even if they leased space in that Benner building), they then insisted that the New Street garage was needed for the offices they located in that building.

    Their actions strongly indicate that they will do what they want to support their mission, even if it harms the community — although they will go along with small projects that improve their image and make a show of concern.

    I was unable to attend either of the ‘streetscape’ meetings yesterday, and I do hope some good ideas emerged. At the same time, this illustrates my point above, because the meetings were sponsored by the City of Bethlehem, the BPA, and Lehigh—the very people who approved the building that exceeds the Historic guidelines by 3 stories, built a massive and unnecessary parking garage, traded off part of the Greenway to accommodate those buildings, and then allowed an overhead ramp structure that destroys the value of that part of the Greenway.

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  3. Farrington Square: Rumor has it that Lehigh wants to make campus square more open to the community by removing the fountains and making the Morton Street side completely open. This would fit in with the original objectives of bridging campus & university.

    Before they worry about physical barriers, though, maybe they should try making the space interesting and welcoming to community members. There are 2 major problems with the space now:

    1) The tables and chair are sometimes only there for 6 months out of the year, and the tables and grounds are often filthy & uninviting. There are pleasant days even in late fall and early spring — and sometimes even in winter.

    2) Only Johnny’s & The Cup serve the general public, with the rest of the space taken up by Lehigh’s bookstore and the mail/shipping center.

    3) Even more important, food residues on tables & chairs sometimes go weeks without being cleaned. Ditto for the litter (trash and cigarette butts [especially in the separate setting areas off the steps]).

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  4. Gadfly has been around long enough to be aware of past history in regard to “Lehigh sprawl,” but, to be fair, he does find this goal in the Lehigh “Path to Prominence” plan: “Develop a faculty and staff housing program through both rentals and incentives to purchasing homes on the SouthSide.” Now there may be a darkside to this, like easing out current homeowners, but the quality of the surrounding neighborhood is on Lehigh radar. https://sustainability.lehigh.edu/gateways

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