|What is the Geographic Area of EARN (The EARN
Earn may operate and recruit membership in the
geographic territory comprising the 14th and 15th
Wards of Allentown.
THE EARN FRONTIER --- WE ARE EAST OF Lehigh
River...The Public Voice For The 14th & 15th Wards
The EARN Frontier boasts a number of community
and block groups. Most of the organizations fall
into four categories: neighborhood associations,
homeowners associations, block clubs, and
Many areas of this community have organized
under the Community Watch program. These
groups are usually organized at the block level, but
occasionally a number of block groups will join
together to be part of an area-wide community
watch neighborhood. These organizations are a
great tool for getting to know your neighbors and
the area in which you live.
|East Allentown- Rittersville Neighborhood
P.O Box 1136
Allentown, PA 18105
Contact: Dennis L. Pearson
Telephone --- 610-434-1229
E-Mall --- email@example.com
Dennis L. Pearson - President - (610) 4341229
David Schell -Vice President- (610) 435-1586
Robert L. Jacoby Sr. - Treasurer - (610) 435-3417
Secretary --- Open
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Jim Bartley (Project Haas) (610)439-4870
Betty Haas - ( Project Haas) (610) 435-9283
Robert Litts - (Charlotte's Neighborhood)
Hilda Sawka (Charlotte's Neighborhood)
Lois Morrell (Charlotte's Neighborhood)
Robert L. Smith Jr. ( Charlotte's Neighborhood)
The membership of this neighborhood is open to
any individual resident, property owner, business
person,professional, industrialist, or
representative of a non-profit agency or
organization located in the neighborhood
boundaries. No denial of membership shall be
due to race, religion, creed, sex, color, physical
handicap, or national origin...
Simply put, a neighborhood
organization is any group that is:
· Bringing people together,
· Defined by a geographic boundary,
· Concerned about issues that affect
|Neighborhood associations draw
people closer to their city government
and closer still to their fellow
neighbors. Neighborhood participation
gives residents a stronger, united voice
Neighborhood associations are
inclusive, reflecting the diversity, which
enriches a community. Members
include families, singles, retired people,
youths, business owners, faith-based
organizations, schools, homeowners,
|Often, neighborhood organizations
commissions on a variety of topics,
· Land Use (zone changes,
variances, subdivisions, zoning
· Street development, traffic control
· Park, open spaces
· Recreational services
· Library programs
· Budget allocations
· Social services
· Crime prevention
· Capital improvements
Neighborhood associations make it
possible for local residents to have a
greater influence over issues,
programs and projects that affect
They offer a local forum for citizen
deliberation of key issues at the
local level and provide a recognized
vehicle for communicating citizen
views’ to City Hall
|Don't Let Them Lurk in the Shadows
Neighborhood Watch, Block Watch, Town
Watch, Crime Watch, Community Child watch --
whatever the name, it's one of the most
effective and least costly ways to prevent crime
and reduce fear. Neighborhood Watch fights
the isolation that crime both creates and feeds
upon. It forges bonds among area residents,
helps reduce burglaries and robberies, and
improves relations between police and the
communities they serve.
take the bark
out of crime
|Established in 1976, EARN has seen a recent
drop-off in membership and wants your input
and ideas. If you live, operate a business, or
simply have a vested interest in Allentown’s
East Side, please come! Give us your name and
phone number or E-Mail address so that you
Know what is happening in your
neighborhood and be a part of the flow of
information – have your voice heard.
Have a direct communication link with
local government officials and other influential
Help to preserve and improve East
Plan social activities for your
Let’s get together, share our ideas, thoughts,
and feelings and work cooperatively to make
Allentown’s east side a better place to live.
All neighborhood residents and guests are
This is your neighborhood... Help it be a strong
on...Get Involved... Be part of the adventure...
Be a Frontiersman for the neighborhood.
Have any questions? Contact Dennis L.
Pearson, President at 610-434-1229 E-Mail
Address --- firstname.lastname@example.org or Robert L.
Jacoby Sr at (610) 435-3417
FRONTIER --- WE
ARE EAST OF
Public Voice For The
14th & 15th Wards
|Allentown State Hospital Update
The Allentown State Hospital opened nearly a century ago on
Oct. 3, 1912, on 200 acres of woodlands along the Lehigh River.
The hospital, then known as the Allentown Homeopathic
Hospital for the Insane, initially admitted patients from Norristown
and Danville state hospitals, which were overcrowded.
It was the first homeopathic institution of its kind in Pennsylvania,
according to the state Department of Public Welfare.
Under the homeopathic approach, diluted doses of substances
are used to provoke healing responses in the body.
The patient population peaked at 2,107 in 1954. But in October
2009, the 97-year-old hospital had just 170 patients served by
Today the trend nationwide reflects a shift toward treating mental
iIlness at smaller facilities, which advocates say is less costly and
Acting Public Welfare Secretary Harriet Dichter earlier this year
announced plans to close the hospital by the end of the year.
And by12/15/2010 the population of residents at the Hospital had
been reduced to Zero with 129 employees left as of 12/17/2010.
As promised the Hospital has been closed with 43 employees
committed to stay behindIt is obvious that the City of Allentown
in its new proposed zoning code has made zoning changes in
the Institution-Government District that reflect State Law even
before the official Allentown State Hospital December 31, 2010
The fact is the closing and future development of state hospital
land will have a major impact on the East Side of Allentown ...
We ask all involved to do what is right .... If decision-makers only
have their eyes open for the Cash Cow then what they bring
would only produce wrong...
We ask of the City, do not bring upon the East Side things that
can destroy us only to save the city's financial situation for a
As it has occurred already, 29 Acres of Allentown State Hospital
Land has been transferred to the Allentown Commercial and
Industrial Development Authority according to Lehigh County
records as of September 29, 2009 as authorized by PA Public
Law 74-2007 ...Public Law 74 - 2007 stipulated that the use of
these 29 acre must be either commercial or senior residential
housing or a mixture of both ... Of interest, with the Sands
Casino Resort Bethlehem having been granted a license for
Gambling within the time period of the enabling law for the
transfer of of Allentown State Hospital land, licensed Gambling
Establishments are forbidden on those 29 plus acres. The Sands
Casino Resort Bethlehem grand opening was June 9, 2009
Of course, all this behind the scene activity had already occurred
before the January 28, 2010 public announcement by the PA
Department of Welfare that the hospital would be closed. It
being somewhat noteworthy that the public was not told about
this already achieved behind the scene activity. Consequently
when the City of Allentown sought public input in regard to a
new Zoning Code in June of 2010 the public was still not aware
of what state activity had occurred in cooperation with Municipal
authorities but not necessarily in cooperation with the public .... It
is important to note too that already the wishes of the State
legislature has been incorporated in the new zoning code .
However, you can hardly tell it the way the new zoning ordinance
was reported in the Morning Call when it achieved passage by
the Allentown City Council
|NEXT EARN MEETING:
MONDAY, January 17, 2011
7:00; St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran
1933 Hanover Avenue, Allentown, PA
|East Allentown - Rittersville Neighborhood Association Presentation before a hearing of
a Department of Public Welfare Committee on the Closing of the Allentown State
Hospital --- Monday, February 22, 2010 at 3:45 PM by EARN President Dennis L.
The East Allentown- Rittersville Neighborhood Association comprises the 14th and 15th wards of the
City of Allentown --- that portion of the city located east and north of the Lehigh River, which includes the
location of the Allentown State Hospital.
It remains the expressed wish and hope of the association that the Allentown State Hospital remains
operational. Unfortunately, this closure seems like a slow death to us for it evolved incrementally since
the 1980's. . Nevertheless, we cling to the slight hope that the Allentown State Hospital would be
rescued from closure even in the face of the DPW's recent announcement of the same on or by
December 31. 2010( which we are told caught all our Assembly and Senate representatives by
surprise who serve our divided district neighborhood ).... But if this hope is dashed , it is our firm belief
that the future use of this site must balance the needs of the City of Allentown with the impact on the
neighborhoods immediately adjacent.
We are not unmindful of the fact that the development of a tract of this size --- a huge piece of land that
goes from Hanover Avenue all the way back to the Lehigh River --- is expected by some to provide a
significant addition to the tax base of the city. The City of Allentown Financial Recovery Plan of
7/25/2009 speculated that in Fiscal Year 2009 the sale of an undefined acreage of Allentown State
Hospital land would yield a projected sale price of $180,000 with a future projected property tax of
$150,000 yearly. In spite of these rather optimistic projections which we note have not yet materialized
we do have misgiving.
It is our belief that the increased infrastructure costs will eat up a significant portion of any increased
tax revenue - perhaps all of it. Examples of these infrastructure costs may be construction for new
roads, water and sewer lines - whether for sanitary runoff or sewage effluent discharges , pumping
systems to ensure adequate water pressure for fire protection, water tower storage and delivery and
other uses, as well as projects to remove asbestos and other Brownfield materials that may exist on the
tract. Last of all, the important need to provide police, fire and medical emergency services.
We propose this challenge to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Lehigh County, the Allentown
School District and the City of Allentown... And yes, even the Federal Government. Any future
development must minimize any negative impacts on east Allentown, with particular reference to
environmental impact, infrastructure costs, traffic congestion, increased criminal activity, and possible
crowding in area public schools.
To aid in the closure process, the DWP said it would establish a strong community advisory team
made up of Allentown residents, county representatives from the Allentown service area, as well as
other interested stakeholders who will monitor and assist the department through the process.
EARN as a stakeholder, and the neighborhood most impacted by any present and future decision this
advisory team may make to the DWP and to the State Assembly, fully understands that members of
our association and our community ought to be represented on this advisory team when hearings,
meetings and discussions are held related to closure and reuse of all the grounds related to the
institution. The question may be raised: "Why is this so necessary?" It is necessary because our
long-term residents have the personal knowledge of where the former swamp, dumping of road
material, asphalt, sludge pitch material, field drainage systems, Etc. may be found.
A little known fact that most people don't understand about the Allentown State Hospital is that it mainly
sits on marsh land. We ask: Do we do right if we allow developers to destroy yet another wetlands
area, especially one which clearly supplements the across the River Wildlands Conservancy property
on South Mountain, throughout all of which are deer and other wildlife that roam on both sides of the
Oddly the abundance of wildlife in the vicinity of Allentown State Hospital and the adjacent Community
of East Allentown residents living on the Hill has become more noticeable since the construction of the
well traveled Route 78 just South of South Mountain. Since then this wildlife because of the loss of
habitat has migrated to this area. And we do recommend that as part of the planning process, an
impact study on wildlife existing there be made.
As indicated before, we know that City Administrators have considered both the State Hospital and
Queen City Airport as the best "solutions" to increasing the Allentown tax base. And as a counter-point
there are those who think that both tracts should remain undeveloped. Their belief is that our officials
should raise the tide by improving the quality of life..
But for East Siders, the descending northern slope of Lehigh Mountain away from the river has been
totally encroached upon by a combination of existing development and new City of Allentown approved
high density development ... And this new development even has spilled over the crest of the Mountain
toward the southern descending side which slopes toward both the Norfolk-Southern Railroad tracks
and Lehigh River at the bottom. Quite literally, the open space as seen on Allentown State Hospital
grounds can be described as an Oasis surrounded by an encroaching and windblown desert with the
water tower looking very much as a golf ball on a tee serving as sentinel.
We understand that various state properties including other state hospitals have been turned into
so-called mixed use developments which include both housing and other types of buildings.
But do we really need more apartments and high density homes? With tens of thousands of people
here already, this part of town is congested enough! With only 2 main east/west arteries flowing through
it all and the site sitting on Hanover Ave, which is already maxed daily in traffic volume, do we want to
exacerbate the problem? ... We don't think so, and we hope regional planners agree ... We note, at
present the Allentown State Hospital property can only be accessed from Hanover Avenue into a
beautiful tree-lined cul-de-sac road leading up to main Hospital building. Other access roads from
Sherman Street to River Road and from E. Hamilton Street have been closed years ago.
Although the City of Allentown did encourage the State to cede part of the land for development. We do
not blame the City for the State's decision to pull the plug . This was Ed Rendell and our state
government at work. But as one voicer in the Morning Call observed: "With that being said,
consolidation wouldn't be such a bad idea, but the problem is... who loses? Norristown gets all of
Philly's people, plus some from the suburbs. Allentown is the split between Norristown and
Clark-Summit. Wernersville would be the logical one to go. Open up previously closed units in
Norristown and Allentown, and move the staff (if they're willing to commute) over. "
In my lifetime, I have seen the decline of many industries in the Lehigh Valley area since the 60's. The
most notable that impacted strongly on my neighborhood was the closure of Bethlehem Steel, Lehigh
Structural Steel, Arbogast and Bastian Meat Packer, Neuweiler and Horlacher Breweries, the
relocation of manufacturing facilities by Agere Technology one of many the successors to Western
Electric, and Mack Trucks.
Equally so, as a neighborhood we have dealt with the downturn of operations at the Allentown State
Hospital as well. In the 80's, all the buildings were in use. Then, in the 90's they transferred some of the
more elderly patients out to facilities that were more equipped to take care of their needs and
proceeded to close those units. Now most of the buildings are contracted out to other agencies not
related to the state At one time, cars coming into and going out of the cul-de-sac road at Hanover
Avenue at shift change presented a problem for the School Crossing Guard at Plymouth Street. Then it
was not a matter of speeding cars or people ignoring School Crossing Guard attempts to get School
Children from Ritter Elementary across the road safely, it was the matter of the volume of cars coming
out of the cul-de-sac and finding the right opportunity to stop all traffic to allow the children to cross the
street. Then with decline in operations and decline in vehicular traffic to and from the Hospital, the traffic
pattern on Hanover Avenue changed but was not as safe. As stated above , periodically, the Hospital
contracted out its closed building for other uses. But what shocked the neighborhood was the 99 year
lease of Allentown State Hospital Land to the Lehigh County Housing Authority to build Transitional
Housing on E. Gordon and N. Oswego Streets for former Allentown State Hospital residents deemed
healthy enough to live out in the community but under supervision of professionals who visited the
apartments on a regular defined basis. This was an early sign that things were changing at the
Now we observe that an individual who had worked only four short years at the State Hospital , claims
that he or she has seen many of the same people who were deemed well enough to go out to group
homes come back for a second, third time. And moreover, there are patients there that doctors have
acknowledged will never fare well in a community setting.
The neighborhood is saddened at what will happen to these patients and what will happen to those still
employed at the Allentown State Hospital ....Knowing that the final word may have been said about
Allentown State Hospital closure ... We turn our focus to its reuse. Not that we want to. But from the
sense of reality.
In conclusion, we say that our neighbors are telling us the following about what development or lack of
development should happen on the grounds of the former Allentown Homeopathic Hospital for the
Insane which opened nearly a century ago on Oct. 3, 1912 in the village of Rittersville which actually
extended from Pennsylvania Avenue in Bethlehem to Irving Street in Allentown.
1. We note -- traditionally East Allentown has been the most family oriented section of the City by
statistics. Therefore we are very much interested in promoting families with kids to move here and
promoting activities for the same ... Nevertheless - the neighborhood objects to the development of
apartments and multi-family housing on the Allentown State Hospital property ... Such housing would
exacerbate traffic conditions on Hanover Avenue and could put added pressure on the Allentown
2. Most of this land should remain undeveloped or remain open space leaving open habitat for wildlife
with reuse or new development occurring only within the footprint of the Allentown State Hospital's
3. The tree lined entrance to the Allentown State Hospital Campus , the historic main building and the
water tower should be preserved.
4. It would be totally acceptable that the current buildings and campus to be used for a Veteran's
5. It would be totally acceptable that the current buildings and campus to be used for a developing a
stand-alone Medical/Pharmacy school in the Lehigh Valley. The Lehigh Valley doesn't have a
standalone Med or Pharmacy school in our area (St. Luke's Bethlehem Med School is in affiliation with
a Temple med school). Even Erie, PA has both a Medical and Pharmacy school. The Scranton/W-B
area is developing a medical school and already has a pharmacy school at Wilkes Univ. in W-B. We
could also use a physical therapy program and PhD programs in the biomedical sciences. How about
a Lehigh/Moravian/Muhlenberg College of Medicine, Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences? We all
know we will need more doctors and healthcare workers in the coming years.
6. It would be totally acceptable that the current footprint of the Allentown State Hospital be utilized by
the Allentown School District or some private school to meet its school building needs .
7. A certain portion of the footprint be used for Athletic fields for East Side A-Youth Youth
8. We do not close our mind to the development of a business park with medical offices in the footprint
of the State Hospital Campus .... But such a Business Park must aesthetically fit into the neighborhood
and what surrounds it. We do not want the type of businesses and type of construction we term
Business slums located North and South of Union Boulevard nearby the former Agere Technology
plant. The Agere Technology Plant we add should be retooled for new manufacturing rather than
introduce manufacturing that would not aesthetically fit into the neighborhood and what surrounds it and
would in fact become an intrusive nuisance.
9. For security reasons, some developments are termed gated communities ... For the reason that we
may not have access to the new residents of these communities and the fact that these developments
may use up more of the open land than we desire we are not thrilled by such developments ... On a
limited basis within the footprint over 55 communities are acceptable.
10. Finally, if new housing is built on the Allentown State Hospital Campus it should be single family
detached housing ... Ideally the portion of the property allowed for such housing should allow one house
per acre. However, as much as three houses could be built on a acre if on that tract three other acres
are not built upon where building is allowed.
Clearly, the City of Allentown will play an important role in the future development of a comprehensive
Land Use plan for the 217 acres that currently comprise the Allentown State Hospital Campus and will
facilitate this plan with newly adopted Planning and Zoning Ordinances for the area... As predicted by
Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham: " Coming up with a plan that everyone agrees on could be
difficult ... Both because of competing interests among elected officials and developers, and the desire
of people who live around the Hospital." ... So in the end, when things are finalized in time after give
and take , all governmental units and the public should be on the same page if that is possible... And
the State should not abandon its responsibility in the process by passing the torch too quickly before
such same page agreement is achieved. It is a priority, indeed that we find a way to turn something
negative into something positive.