(Latest in a series of posts about Neighborhoods and the Southside)
Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem
409 East 4th Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015
Anna Smith, Director
“Empowering people and transforming South Bethlehem”
Time for Gadfly to wrap up his reporting on the visit to Anna Smith to find out more about the little office on 4th St. with the big name of The Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem.
Sadly, as he told you earlier, he waited too long to begin posting, and the notes he took that day have gone cold.
But you can find a lot of information browsing through the CADCB web site.
For instance, the link to a 2017 Morning Call article by Nicole Radzievich contains specific examples of the kind of work with housing and specifically affordable housing that we have been concerned about in recent months here on Gadfly.
“How Bethlehem’s Hayes Street was rediscovered”
For instance, one man’s perspective:
The lively, blue-collar neighborhood that Raymond Richter remembers as a child is showing subtle signs of a return along south Bethlehem’s Hayes Street.
Preening alongside the tired brick facades of his hillside neighborhood are the strategic restorations of some early 20th century homes.
Asphalt siding on one twin has been stripped down to the original wood. Chipped gray paint on another brick home has been covered in a warm, red color, and flowers flow from boxes affixed underneath black-trimmed windows.
A festive mural sprawls on the side of a row home. On the corner, benches and trees fill what had been an empty corner lot, drawing residents out of their homes for breathtaking views of the architecturally lit blast furnaces below.
The recent improvements there recall the days when steelworkers would while away the evening on their porches, watching the headlights flicker up South Mountain. Neighborhood nuns and children would go toe-to-toe on the basketball court, and two shoemakers would compete for the soles of the Hungarian, Polish and Italian families who lived there.
After Bethlehem Steel’s decline and the passing of some old-timers, Richter said, many of the homes became rentals. Backyard grapevines and vegetable gardens gave way to weeds, and aging homes went unrepaired.
While redevelopment of the Bethlehem Steel plant has monopolized the city’s attention for decades, he said, it’s heart-warming to watch as his neighborhood also gets rediscovered.
Think of this the next time you ride up or down Hayes Street.
The Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem — an organization doing great work for “us.”
CADCB: “Empowering people and transforming South Bethlehem”