CNN Article on Allentown

Reinvention in the Rust Belt

Allentown, Pennsylvania, is trying to move beyond its industrial past - without leaving anyone behind.

By Inara Verzemnieks, CNN
Video by Madeleine Stix and Matthew Gannon, CNN
Photographs by Heather Fulbright, CNN


Where others might register redevelopment in terms of buildings, Rivera saw people. When he passed by the headquarters of the City Center Investment Corp., he thought of a man named J.B. Reilly, its president, who was behind so many of the cranes foresting Allentown’s new skyline. Rivera met Reilly last summer during an unlikely parley between the developer and a group of men whose entrepreneurial skills Reilly hoped to redirect into aboveboard enterprises. Rivera had gone into the meeting skeptical but had come away with a sense of possibility — that maybe the story of redevelopment could include more people than it excluded. He also came away with two things he had not expected: a personal connection with Reilly and a laptop, which made it possible for him to stick with his business classes at a local community college.

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