Allentown had 486 new businesses open in the city in 2019, an increase of 19% from 2018, according to Mayor Ray O’Connell.
O’Connell made the announcement during his 2020 State of the City address, hosted on Jan. 31 by the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The mayor spoke to a packed house at the East Side Youth Center on East Clair Street, where he said “Do I need this job? No. Do I want this job? You’re damned sure I want this job. I love Allentown…I bleed Allentown.”
During the roughly 20-minute speech, O’Connell highlighted several business development initiatives, including the increased promotion of affordable housing and medium density residential development.
O’Connell also stated that the city’s business privilege tax collection exceeded expectations by ten percent, and business privilege tax collection has increased by 20 percent in the past three years.
He also said that he expects the 2020 census to show an increase in Allentown’s population, “at a time when most cities are showing population decline.”