CADC_Bethlehem Southside Vision 2024 Uncategorized

Bethlehem Featured on PA DCED Magazine

Work Smart. Live Happy. A Pennsylvania Story. 2017 Edition

Bethlehem, PA was featured on PA Department of Community & Economic Development’s annual magazine.


A key driving force for South Bethlehem’s revitalization
started with the Southside Vision plan in 2001, which
was made possible by the DCED Neighborhood
Partnership Program. Led by the Community Action
Development Corporation of Bethlehem, a subsidiary
of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh
Valley (CACLV) and in partnership with the City of
Bethlehem, Southside Vision was developed with the
intent to improve economic stability, housing, public
spaces, safety, and community engagement.

With tax credits from DCED and investments from the
private sector, including businesses like M&T Bank, PPL
Corporation, and Just Born, Inc., the Southside Vision
plan was set in motion.

Click to read more.

4 Blocks International CADC_Bethlehem

How Bethlehem’s Hayes Street was rediscovered

By Nicole Radzievich Contact Reporter Of The Morning Call

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.

“I hope they could turn it around, I really do,” said Richter, 56, who recently had some facade work done on his row home. “South Side will always be in my heart.”

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.

Over the last three years, nonprofits, the city and corporate sponsors have invested more than $500,000 bringing the homes up to code, redoing facades and landscaping public areas, including this fall a street tree planting aimed at re-creating the leafy canopy that once framed the neighborhood.

he changes are eye-popping in a Census tract where 66 percent of the occupied homes are rentals and 11.2 percent are vacant, exceeding the citywide rates. While there are more properties that could use some sprucing up, the work done so far offers sort of a preview of what the neighborhood could become.

“Hayes Street is a gateway to the city, a shortcut for people to get over the mountain,” said Mayor Robert Donchez, who played in many of those homes as a boy. “It provides the first impression of the city to many, and it’s important that we make this investment.”

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the neighborhood began to turn around, though it’s been building over the last decade under the guidance of a South Side master plan that also conceptualized the streetscape at the neighborhood now known as Four Blocks International.

Since 2010, the city has directed $935,400 of federal HOME grants to create affordable housing on Hayes Street. Most of it — $735,000 — went toward a $10 million project to create artist lofts around the shuttered St. Stanislaus Church, a 1906 parish that has since been turned into an artists’ gallery and meeting space. The 46-apartment project, which opened in 2014, includes 28 apartments along Hayes Street.

“That kind of investment was eye-catching and led to a kind of rediscovery of Hayes Street,” said Ellen Larmer, associate executive director of community development at Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley. “A fairly affluent population uses Hayes to go to and from Saucon Valley, so those changes were noticed.”

Others were convinced Hayes was a neighborhood worth saving. Among them the Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority, which in 2010 stepped in to acquire a blighted property at 426 Hayes St.

Garbage filled the yard, and the house was vandalized and uninhabitable. Holes pocked the roof, and lead paint coated the interior walls.

In 2009, the 2½-story, 1,350-square-foot home was appraised at $25,000 in a neighborhood where the median value of an owner-occupied home is $94,300. -year census figures

The authority seized the blighted property and transferred it in 2015 to a subsidiary of Community Action, which oversaw a $200,000 makeover of the house where a family now lives.

And that’s not the only investment. The committee is overseeing more than $71,000 worth of facades of nine homes between the 400 and 500 blocks of Hayes Street. The city says even more money has been directed to facade improvements on Hayes since 2010.

That work convinced Jody Petersen, a 57-year-old who had moved out of state after a divorce, to return two years ago to the Hayes Street rental home she owned with her ex-husband. .

The facade work that a Community Action subsidiary spearheaded outside her home convinced Petersen, who works at a home improvement store, to continue the work inside.

Petersen spent her off-hours peeling back the dated linoleum flooring and installing hardwood. She bought new kitchen cabinets and appliances. She ripped out an artificial outdoor carpet, planted a garden, installed a fountain and set out hummingbird feeders in the backyard.

“I don’t think I would have ever considered living here before. It was a rough area, but there’s been so many changes,” Petersen said. “It has so much potential.”

The latest project is something Community Action advocates affectionately nickname “the beast” at 414-418 Hayes St. It’s a three-unit structure featuring spacious homes with six bedrooms each.

The middle unit is rented out privately, but the end units have been vacant, pocked by peeling paint on the outside and buckling floor boards on the inside.

A Community Action subsidiary acquired 414 and 418 Hayes St. for a total renovation, and the owner of the rental cooperated with the facade improvements.

With financial help from the city, $155,000 was identified to renovate 414 and 418 Hayes for low- to moderate-income families and another $20,000 was obtained through Southside Vision for facade improvements, which include a 1,600-square-foot mural. The mural, painted by artist Holly Fields-Scott, shows a festival of people dancing, children painting a mural and a city streetscape. Overlooking all of this is the image of a woman staring out of a painted dormer.

That image is of Helen Ballek, who had grown up at 418 Hayes alongside a group of nuns in the middle unit. Ballek has since moved to another home in Bethlehem, but her daughter, who drives on Hayes daily, has been updating her on the neighborhood’s transformation. Ballek is tickled that a little piece of her will return to the neighborhood.

“It was such a great neighborhood,” she said. “So many memories.”

But, perhaps, a more dramatic example of the neighborhood’s turnaround is the attention from homebuyers who could afford to live just about anywhere in the Lehigh Valley.

Last September, Stephen P. DeWeerth accepted the position as dean of Lehigh’s P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science. He and his wife, Valerie, were searching for a place where they could walk to campus and restaurants while having enough space for “300 pounds” of rescue dogs they own.

Their Realtor suggested an older home with “beautiful bones” in the 700 block of Hayes Street. The 1,462-square-foot, single-family home has incredible views of SteelStacksand enough room on the .13-acre property for an expansion. The DeWeerths are drawing up plans for renovations with an eye toward historic restoration.

The DeWeerths, who have lived in places from Dubai to just outside Atlanta, said they have never lived somewhere where they know so many names of their neighbors, some of whom have lived there for decades.

“We really love the vibrancy and growth of the South Side and understand the major transition that took place with the closure of Bethlehem Steel,” Stephen DeWeerth said. “We appreciate the ties to that past through our neighbors and are very excited to be part of its present and future.”

What is the Lehigh Valley Community Land Trust?

A subsidiary of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, the trust rehabilitated the blighted home at 426 Hayes St. and turned it over to a family as part of its goal to preserve and develop quality, affordable housing.

Families buy the house and lease the land underneath from the trust for $35 a month. The 99-year lease allows the owner to transfer the house to other income-qualified people as long as its used for single-family occupancy. Rentals are not allowed.

Source: Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley

Story is available on the Morning Call website.

CADC_Bethlehem Southside Vision 2024

Organization seeks investments for South Side revitalization

By Brian Pedersen January 26, 2015 at 11:32 AM

The organizers of a community and economic revitalization plan for South Side Bethlehem are looking to secure additional investments from local companies to help boost the city’s business opportunities.

With financial support of almost $2 million from M&T Bank, Just Born Inc., PPL Corp. and Lehigh Valley Hospital, the Community Action Development Corp. of Bethlehem leveraged an additional $14 million for projects, programs and physical restoration as part of a 12-year strategy for neighborhood revitalization.

According to the South Side Vision Master Plan, M&T Bank pledged $1 million to South Side Vision over a 10-year period. The project would have expired in 2012, but Spectrum Health Services of Lehigh Valley Hospital; PPL, and Just Born pledged additional contributions to extend the project until 2014.

Now, the organization is launching its South Side Vision 2024 project, a tax credit program recently approved by the state Dept. of Community and Economic Development with participation from Just Born and PPL Corp.

“We are looking for additional investors in the project,” said Alan Jennings, executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

For this next phase of the project, the organization would like to receive $50,000 each or more from two other companies, Jennings said. So far, it has $75,000 from Just Born and $50,000 from PPL. By May, he would like to secure two other companies.

“My hope is that it would almost double the size of the program,” Jennings said.

His goal is to acquire $225,000 per year in financial support from these companies for six years.

The Community Action Development Corp. of Bethlehem uses the funds from this financial support to develop entrepreneurial training and financing seminars on how to create a business, including technical instruction.

This year, the organization plans to continue these efforts for the 2014-2024 plan, which includes providing small business training and technical support to prospective, start-up and existing business owners, developing a collaborative network among South Bethlehem businesses, removing barriers to employment and advocating for more small businesses in this section of the city.

Click HERE for direct link to article.

4 Blocks International CADC_Bethlehem

Photos: Bethlehem Community members come together to cleanup Tranquility Park on June 25, 2014

Matt Smith | The Express-Times

View photo gallery HERE.

Community Planting Day - Tahlia Colon - 2

Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem (CADCB) held a community planting day event with Bethlehem community members to clean up Tranquility Park on East Fourth Street on June 25, 2014.

Southside Vision 2014

Southside Vision maps 10-year Bethlehem master plan

Southside Vision master plan presentation

Author: , Reporter

Published: May 28 2014 12:42:40 AM EDT
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -Bethlehem revitalization program, Southside Vision, held a presentation Tuesday to announce their tentative 10-year development master plan for the district.

Hosted jointly by the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem and the City of Bethlehem at Broughal Middle School, the event featured several speakers who discussed the initiative’s past and future while also opening the floor to community input.

Presenters outlined five areas of focus that they will dedicate their resources to from 2014 to 2024: community engagement and communication, housing, public spaces, economic sustainability and health and safety.

They plan to implement these by creating further local initiatives and partnerships that strengthen socioeconomic development in Southside Bethlehem. … read more.

4 Blocks International Southside Vision 2014

Photos: Bethlehem Dedicates New Pocket Park


View photo gallery HERE.

Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan, left, and Mike Albarell, volunteer chairman of the Four Blocks International Committee, unveil the new name “Tranquility Park” as they dedicate a new pocket park in Four Blocks International neighborhood, Wednesday December 18, 2013.

Southside Vision 2014

South Side Vision seeks additional investment

Lehigh Valley Business

By Brian Pedersen             December 13, 2013 at 11:00 AM

While four corporations gave nearly $2 million to fuel more than $8 million of improvements to South Side Bethlehem as part of a 12-year master plan, the organizers behind the plan are looking for more private investment as they set future goals.

Coupled with this master plan is the city’s goal for a City Revitalization and Improvement Zone designation. If Bethlehem earns CRIZ approval from the state, a bunch of projects, including seven in the city’s South Side, could get a boost in private investment and offer the city an opportunity to bring in a new, specialized workforce.

If the city earned the CRIZ – which allows certain state and local taxes generated by businesses in the zone to be used to finance construction and development of a variety of buildings – it could bring $109 million worth in projects that include a hotel, convention center and Bass Pro Shops retailer at the SteelStacks site, said Mayor John Callahan.

The city should know by the end of the year if it earned the CRIZ designation.

“There’s going to be another great wave of private investment in South Side Bethlehem,” Callahan said. “Those are all jobs within walking distance.”

Besides talking about the CRIZ, Callahan spoke – at a Bethlehem Planning Commission meeting Thursday – about the accomplishments of South Side Vision 2014, a plan adopted in 2002. (Originally a 10-year plan, it was extended by two years.)

Since that time, city officials, business owners and numerous volunteers completed a host of projects, programs and physical improvements designed to enhance the quality of life in the city’s South Side.

Callahan presented a summary of what South Side Vision 2014 achieved so far and outlined future goals. The Community Action Development Corp. of Bethlehem, a nonprofit that promotes business and economic opportunities in South Side, also worked intensively on the plan and administered the money that funded the initiatives from private companies.

The corporations included M&T Bank, Just Born Inc., PPL and Lehigh Valley Health Network. Callahan said these companies provide personnel to participate on South Side Vision’s steering committee, which guides where the dollars are directed… read more.

Southside Vision 2014

Southside Vision 2014 hoping for another decade to better Bethlehem

Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times By Sara K. Satullo | The Express-Times The Express-Times on December 12, 2013 at  7:00 PM

Southside Vision 2014 is hoping for another decade.

The partnership between the Community Action Development Corp. of Bethlehem and the city has gotten four corporate partners to invest $1.94 million into the South Side neighborhood over the past 12 years.

The organization is hoping for a new lease on life by reapplying to  the Pennsylvania Department of Economic Development for a new  Neighborhood Partnership Program, said Ellen Larmer, director of the Community Action Development Corp.,  which administers the funds.

Originally dubbed Southside Vision 2012, the organization was funded by a $1 million commitment from M&T Bank over 10 years. It was extended another two years when Just Born Inc., PPL Corp. and Lehigh Valley Health Network joined in 2008.

The money from the companies has been reinvested into the South Side neighborhood, resulting in more than $8 million worth of programs, projects and physical improvements for residents, Mayor John Callahan said today during a review of the program. In exchange for the funding, the businesses receive state tax credits.

“All this ends without the NPP dollars,” Callahan said.

The state only grants a certain number of programs annually due to the associated tax incentives, Callahan said. He doesn’t think there’s any question the state would approve Bethlehem’s renewals. It’s just a matter of lining up the corporate partner, which is necessary before applying, she said.

Larmer has heard interest from corporate partners ready to sign on but she can’t just extend the current program. The application must be submitted before June and the new cycle would start July 1.

“We have to start anew,” Larmer said. … read more.

Eastern Gateway Southside Vision 2014

Amber makes its very big mark – gateway to Bethlehem

By A.M. Weaver, For The Inquirer

Posted: December 05, 2013

Click HERE for the full article.

In October, the Amber collective celebrated its most recent major project, the Directions of Perspective mural commissioned as part of Bethlehem’s Southside Vision 2014, a revitalization project that also features a state-of-the-art skate park, an anchor in the community.

The artists helped flip the perception of Bethlehem’s urban landscape. Amber Art’s mural transforms a plain tire garage that extends over one block into a bedazzling wrap-around edifice. Replete with recycled materials found in the neighborhood, the mural reflects different perspectives on how Bethlehem views itself.

Their mural “nails it,” says Ellen Larmer, director of the Community Action Development Corp. of Bethlehem. It “does exactly what we had planned; it is colorful, exciting, and engaging. With fields of energetic lines and palette, it serves as a gateway to the city.”

Turning art on its head: (from left) Willis Humphrey (Nomo), Keir Johnston, and Bryan Martinez of Amber Art & Design clown around in front of their mural "Directions in Perspective" after its ribbon cutting in October in Bethlehem, Pa.

Turning art on its head: (from left) Willis Humphrey (Nomo), Keir Johnston, and Bryan Martinez of Amber Art & Design clown around in front of their mural “Directions in Perspective” after its ribbon cutting in October in Bethlehem, Pa. (CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer)

Eastern Gateway Southside Vision 2014

Mural’s completion celebrated in Bethlehem on Oct. 18, 2013

By Stephen Flood | The Express-Times Photos

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Mural's completion celebrated in Bethlehem on Oct. 18, 2013

Mayor John Callahan speaks as the Community Action Development Corp. of Bethlehem hosts Mingle at the Mural to celebrate the completion of a large, outdoor public mural at Steel Avenue and East Fourth Street, the city’s eastern gateway, on Oct. 18, 2013.