If historic Bethlehem is selected as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it would bring international prestige to the city, increase tourism and boost business at hotels, restaurants and shops, said Caroll Neubauer, chairman and CEO of B. Braun Medical Inc., based in Bethlehem.
Neubauer was among local business leaders who met recently to learn about Historic Moravian Bethlehem’s placement again in December on the United States Tentative List, a step required to be nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Some of the other sites on the U.S. list include Ellis Island, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge and early Chicago skyscrapers.
The World Heritage Commission accepted the U.S. Tentative List a few weeks ago. It is now listed on the UNESCO World Heritage website as Moravian Church Settlements.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem was previously named to the U.S. list in 2008.
Historic Moravian Bethlehem is a 14-acre district that includes buildings founded by Moravian settlers more than 275 years ago.
The city is recognized as having the best example of Colonial-era Germanic architecture in the U.S. It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 2012, one of eight in Pennsylvania and 200 in the country.
The district includes the Colonial Industrial Quarter, God’s Acre cemetery, the Central Moravian Church complex, Moravian College, the Sun Inn and the Goundie House. The designation encompasses two existing National Historic Landmarks, the 1762 Waterworks and the 1741 Gemeinhaus, the largest 18th century log structure in continuous use in the U.S.
Neubauer and John F. Malloy, president and CEO of Victaulic Corp., based in Forks Township, said it was important to value and preserve Bethlehem’s historic district.
Malloy spoke about Victaulic’s experience in preserving the Guest House, a building that dates to 1691, and where the meeting was held.
A UNESCO World Heritage designation is impressive to visitors and potential businesses and employees, Neubauer said.
The gathering was convened by Historic Bethlehem Museum & Sites, which has spearheaded efforts to get the district nominated to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Attendees included Philip Jackson, market president, Univest; Dave Lobach, president and CEO, Embassy Bank; Raj Pawar, president and CEO, Summit Utility Structures; Anthony Scarcia, president and chief operating officer, Allied Building Corp., C. Douglas Hill, senior vice president and general manager, Sharp Packing Solutions; Anne and Ken Rampolla, owners, Responsive Marketing Inc.; Lew and Christy Ronca, HRP Management LLC; Ray Glenser, CEO, Glemser Technologies; Martin and Tiffany Till, Virtual Graphics LLC; John and Donna Eureycko; Dave Roth, general manager, Bethlehem Area Moravians; Bishop Hopeton Clennon, senior pastor, Central Moravian Church; and representatives for U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent and Bethlehem Mayor Bob Donchez.