Some of the people who paid $25 more than 20 years ago to have a commemorative brick placed in Allentown’s Center Square now can have the bricks returned.
The bricks were sold in the late 1980s and early 1990s to fund downtown improvements. Many bricks were bought in the name of loved ones and had sentimental value.
While they were supposed to forever become part of the landscape of Downtown Allentown, times have changed, redevelopment has occurred and the bricks had to be dug up.
After word that about 1,100 commemorative bricks were being removed from the City Center corner of Center Square, Mike Moore, city communications manager, said there was a large response from people who had bought the bricks decades ago.
“We had a couple hundred calls,” he said.
So now, the city is trying to return the bricks to those who bought them.
The downtown bricks were removed by several developers. The Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority only has possession of those that were placed on the corner where a hockey arena is being built.
Moore said they identified as many of the donors as they could, but the bricks have become very worn and some of them were hard to read.
“They’ve been in the ground for almost 25 years,” he said. “They’ve been weathered and walked on.”
People who may have purchased one of the bricks can also go to the city’s website at www.allentownpa.gov and see if they can identify one of the bricks they may have purchased.
Moore said the city is doing what it can to make the return as simple as possible. It has set up two dates in August when people can drive up and pick up their brick without having to get out of their car.
According the city, the bricks can be picked up at 905 Harrison St., on Saturday, Aug. 9, from 8-11 a.m. and on Tuesday, Aug. 12, from 5-8 p.m.
Motorists are advised to enter Harrison Street off South 10th Street. Volunteers will greet drivers and ask them for the name on the brick. Volunteers will verify that the brick has been retrieved.
Drivers will then be asked to show picture identification and sign a release form. The brick will then be handed over to the driver, the city said.