* Current Status
The East Allentown Rittersville Neighborhood
Association has stated that it wanted  to be part of
any committee developed by the State, County, of
Allentown State Hospital land to any municipality,
development corporation or any entity whatsoever.

Currently, the  Allentown Commercial and Industrial
Development Corporation has held 30 acres of  the
property since late 2009 perhaps. That perhaps the
time that Public Welfare Personnel seriously talked
about closing the hospital.

What is clear to us is that the three state
representatives whom have served us since the
redistricting from the 2000 census occurred  ...
None of them revealed to us this important
information about the closing and neither did the
Allentown City Council or the City Administration .

Only Joe Brennan made an attempt once the
closing was announced to give us a periodic census
account until the Hospital officially closed.

As far as EARN sees it, we are the only group
seeking to protect the livability and quality of life of
all sections of East Allentown ..Indeed the City has
needs but the livability and quality of life of all
sections of East Allentown ought not be imploded
to meet these needs... That is why we seek to be
consulted about things that affect our area .... In all
stages of planning not when decisions have already
been made.
East Allentown - Rittersville Neighborhood
Association (EARN)  Presentation before a hearing
of a Department of Public Welfare (DPW)
Committee on the Closing of the Allentown State
Hospital (ASH) --- Monday, February 22, 2010 at 3:
45 PM by EARN President Dennis L. Pearson

Executive Bullet Points

•        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 .
•        EARN as a stakeholder, and the
neighborhood most impacted by any DPW Closure
decision strongly advocates that the Allentown
State Hospital remain operational. But we cannot
ignore the fact that reductions in Hospital services
have occurred incrementally since 1980.
•         EARN as a stakeholder, and the
neighborhood most impacted by any DPW Closure
decision wonders why the DPW did not hold
hearings on the  ASH closure before it formally
announced its decision. EARN believes that
Wernersville State Hospital would be the most
logical State Hospital to go if any closure was
required. Let's open up previously closed units in
Norristown and Allentown
•        And EARN as a stakeholder, and the
neighborhood most impacted by any DPW Closure
decision wonders why the DPW failed to advise us
or our elected officials in the State House or
Senate before announcing the closure decision ..
EARN comprises part of the 131st PA State
Assembly District,  represented by  Republican
Karen Beyer, part of the133rd, represented by
Democrat Joe Brennan;  and   part of the 135th,
represented by Democrat Steve Sammuelson as
well as  part of the 16th State Senatorial District,
represented by Republican, Pat Browne.
•        EARN as a stakeholder, and the
neighborhood most impacted by any DPW Closure
decision,  wonders whether the DPW fully
understands that   members of our association and
our community ought  to be at the table for any
discussion or action in regard to the reuse of the
Allentown State Hospital Property ... This 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. are
•        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. .
•        But It is our belief  that infrastructure costs
such as the important need to provide police, fire
and medical emergency services, 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 will eat up a significant
portion of any increased tax revenue - perhaps all
of it.
•        EARN recognizes 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 with tens of
thousands of people here already and 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, this part of town is
congested enough. We don't need additional
apartments or high density construction. 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 due to the combination of existing Lehigh
Mountain development and approved
development in various stages of construction and
•        EARN as a stakeholder, and the
neighborhood most impacted by any DPW Closure
offers the following statements on future
Allentown State Hospital Development
1.        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 School System..
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 current buildings
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 Administration Hospital.
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.
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 their 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. 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
9.        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.

•        EARN  propose this challenge to the U.S
Government, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,
Lehigh County, the Allentown School District and
the City of Allentown...  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. And . 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
•        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...
•        It is a priority, indeed that we  find a way to
turn something negative into something positive.
There is some news in regards to the 30 acres
that had been previously used as a dump and
for farming.  A Lehigh Valley group has
indicated that they will clean up the area.  
Haven House has been pushed off of the site.  
There is still some use of ASH property—the
admissions building is still being used by both
Lehigh and Northampton Counties for a few
patients that cannot be housed elsewhere.

And also, the City of Allentown has used a
portion of the State Hospital land for Canine

And of course, the Donelly Day Care and Head
Start Program remains operating. Donelly
which actually owns land on the State Hospital
Campus recently built a clinic to serve the
needs of young mothers and their children.
Allentown State Hospital
Next Meeting ; January 18, 2016