By Trevan J Houser, Clean Earth Inc., BCONE Advisory Board
Allentown, PA – OK, I was wrong. I admit it – I was flat out wrong! You see, when I was “volunteered” to attend this BCONE Brownfield Event in December of 2017, I was less than thrilled. Arts on Brownfields – I mean, I’m an engineer. What possible value can I gain from attending a Brownfields Event about Arts? So this is where one of those Emoji’s with the top of my head blowing off would fit in nicely!
Bridgeworks Conference Room full of BCONE "Brownfielders"
So this was arguably the best Brownfield event I have ever attended. OK, so there were two (2) breweries, a meadery (honey wine or mead), and a distillery involved, but they weren’t the best part! The event started with a quick overview of the day’s activities at the former Mack Truck factory, now redeveloped as the Bridgeworks Enterprise Center.
Next we boarded a nice charter bus for a short ride to the former Simons Silk Mill. The Site is being redeveloped with apartments and some retail/commercial with a beautiful trout stream running just nearby.
View of Böser Geist Brewing Company at the former Simons Silk Mill
The Böser Geist Brewing Co. opened a tad early to serve us a mighty tasty beer. They feature their own varieties as well as other local favorites.
Then back on the Bus to the former Bethlehem Steel Plant, now home to Sands Casino Resort and the ArtsQuest Center at Steel Stacks. WOW – how cool is this place. With the Sands Casino occupying one end of the Site and the ArtsQuest Center on the other end, they’ve got it all covered. ArtsQuest is a concert, film, festival, arts class, camp, and team building resource with quite an impressive visual backdrop of large blast furnaces.
Former Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces serving as ArtsQuest at Steel Stacks backdrop
We toured the ArtsQuest Center first then over to the blast furnaces viewed from the elevated catwalk. Can’t wait to see a concert here!
So if that was not enough, we finished the day back at the Bridgeworks facility with some informational sessions and wrap-up. Then the food arrived and the HiJinx Brewery and Colony Meadery opened and we enjoyed some very fine local craft.
So I learned my lesson. An engineer can learn something at an Arts event and I’ll never turn down another “volunteer” assignment. Cheers!
Click here to view the photo gallery for this event.