Let’s stop the rush to development (51)

(51st in a series on Martin Tower)

Martin Tower demolition May 19

John Marquette is a retired librarian/archivist, author, historian, and a resident of Bethlehem. His current project is focused on the restoration of the interior of the Archibald Johnston Mansion in Housenick Park. 

Given the questions from the meeting at May 9 and many citizens and local experts expressing concern over the project, why do we continue the implosion countdown clock to May 19?

Councilmember Van Wirt seems to all but ask this question in her post from earlier today. There’s no containing the resultant plume, if indeed there is a plume. We know there’s going to be particulate matter. The state health people haven’t given their own evidence.

Because the tower’s structural frame has been compromised in preparation for removal, the demolition needs to take place. Once it’s down, however, what stops the developers from moving forward with plans which look and feel inconsistent with good urban planning? What does the Ronca/Herrick plan do that integrates the Martin into the heart of the city of Bethlehem and not simply imitate a little piece of Lower Macungie Township in the heart of our home? Nothing.

This ought not to be a quid pro quo. Implosions are cheap and efficient and environmentally risky. Herrick and Ronca are ready to build and to take full advantage of the tax district in which the Martin Tower property sits.

Withhold additional permits and revoke the permits already issued based on insufficient evidence of safety. Let’s stop the rush to development.


It’s worth starting to think seriously what steps can be taken to stop the rush to development or even the rush to implosion.

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