The Talk

Yes, thank you, we ARE awesome: Lehigh Valley getting national nods

- Last modified: March 6, 2014 at 11:59 AM

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Photo courtesy of City Center Lehigh Valley: Financing for Five and Six City Center project has just been approved. The projects  are part of dynamic growth going on in Downtown Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.
Photo courtesy of City Center Lehigh Valley: Financing for Five and Six City Center project has just been approved. The projects are part of dynamic growth going on in Downtown Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.

Next time you walk out of your office, look up and wave because the world is watching.

With an economic resurgence in Downtown Allentown, the construction of a number of big-name manufacturing facilities in the suburbs and a growing arts scene in Bethlehem, the Lehigh Valley has been at the center of the national spotlight in recent days.

The attention that is being placed on the Lehigh Valley has been diverse and overwhelmingly positive – good news for people whose job it is to promote the region as a great place to live, work and prosper.

Talking about the Lehigh Valley's ranking of No. 2 on Site Selector Magazine's list of top places for economic development, Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp., said no one should be surprised that people are impressed by what's going on in our own backyard, but they have been.

"It seems like people here are the last to realize what's going on and how amazing it is, but the national community is recognizing the significance," he said in an interview earlier this week.

He even admitted to being a little [pleasantly] surprised by the news, which cited 46 new development projects on the books in the Lehigh Valley in 2013.

"We knew we were having a busy year, but we never stood back and added it up," he said.

But that ranking, the sixth time the Lehigh Valley has made the national list and the highest it's ever achieved, is only one example of the region shining on the national stage this past week.

On March 5, The New York Times printed a feature article on the Neighborhood Improvement Zone and the economic development activity it has sparked in Allentown's downtown.

The article captured the notion that people and businesses aren't just flocking to the downtown for the tax breaks at this point, but for the excitement that's being generated from the synergy of the different projects that are underway.

It quoted Lehigh Valley Health Network CEO Ronald Swinfard, who is moving a sports medicine and fitness center to the City Center area in the city's downtown, as wanting to be a part of the resurgence.

"We wanted to be part of the revitalization of downtown Allentown," he told the paper.

And if our heads weren't getting big enough just by those two big "atta boys," Zagat came a-calling on the Lehigh Valley too this week.

Zagat, which writes restaurant and nightlife reviews for hotspots around the country, just published an article in its New York edition giving readers "10 reasons to drive to the Lehigh Valley."

Zagat cited attractions such as SteelStacks in Bethlehem and the Two Rivers Brewing Co. in Easton as reasons why the Lehigh Valley is the fastest growing region in Pennsylvania and worth the trip.

Born and raised in the Lehigh Valley, I've always been a proud hometown girl – even when times weren't quite as bright as they are now.

It's good to see the Lehigh Valley finally getting its due. Just remember, we  knew the Lehigh Valley was awesome first.

Stacy Wescoe

Stacy Wescoe

Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe covers technology and trends plus keeps you up to date on what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler and on social media. Reach her at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 104. Follow her on Twitter at @morestacy and on Facebook and circle her on Google+.

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