The Beauty in Brownfield Redevelopment


Abandoned industrial sites are common in cities that are experiencing a shift in labor force. Often, these brownfields bring blight to the city that is both costly and unsightly. Given the prevalence of these sites within the older communities, the Revitalizing Older Cities Task Force has classified this issue as a top priority, calling on local regions to engage in brownfield redevelopment campaigns. Nowhere is this campaign more evident than here in the Lehigh Valley, where community leaders in the cities have coordinated major redevelopment efforts.

A former steel powerhouse, Bethlehem will soon see its abandoned steel stacks site converted into a destination for culture, art, and education. The local group ArtsQuest, responsible for planning the yearly Musikfest program, is working with the city to reconstruct the site, turning it into a gathering place for residents and visitors to the Lehigh Valley. Some prominent features of the redevelopment will be a music pavilion, a town square, and a performing arts center. The new musical venues will provide locations for the South Mountain Folk Festival and the River Jazz Festival, while the plazas will host farmer’s markets and artist exchanges. In addition to traditional musical acts, theatre and dance productions will be featured on the stage at the arts center, while an adjacent cinema will show independent features.

The Steel Stacks Project is set for a groundbreaking this Fall, with a scheduled opening for May 2011. Visit the Steel Stacks blog that is being run be ArtsQuest to read the latest news about the project.

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About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on August 21, 2009, in Neighborhoods, Public Infrastructure, Urbanism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thank Heavens for this. It will really add another dimension to the Valley especially with that casino currently dominating the former Steel site. Go Arts!

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