Jul 29, 2009

Can Phillips Unwrap the Present ?


Tony Phillips, who thus far has offered little as a candidate, didn't even seem to realize the present he was handed last night. Over seventy people filled Council Chambers to vent their outrage over plans to remake our beloved Cedar Creek Park. Mayor Pawlowski, who was in the building, ignored these taxpaying voters. More insulting, he directed his park director not to attend. In the Mayor's mind, and that of councilman Peter Schweyer, the issue is closed. Truth be known, even the Morning Call reporter doesn't fully understand the ramifications. He quoted the mayor that there was sufficient public input and noted a drawing of the plan was taped on the wall near council chambers for months. Council Chambers hold 125 people, Allentown has 108,000 citizens. When a Mayor from Chicago, and a Recreation Director from Philadelphia, wish to remake Allentown's historic, iconic Park System, public notification must be more than a rendering taped on a wall; that packed Council Chamber last night demonstrates the notification was insufficient. Tony concluded by telling the crowd that they must organize and make their feeling's known to Council. WRONG!. Don't tell the citizens what they must do, they attended last evening expecting you to do something. Last night was the second time some of these people came to the council chamber to express their displeasure. Tony, it's time to show some leadership, especially if you want to be mayor. Council is on record as stating they didn't fully understand the scope and scale of the plans which they approved. Council didn't even see plans for the "Destination Playground" until minutes before they approved it. The City Charter demands fourteen days of due diligence, unless the rules were suspended. There was no such suspension that evening.
Submit an ordinance to your colleagues, Ms. Eichenwald will second it, withholding use of those park funds until which time there is proper public input.

33 comments:

Joe Hilliard said...

I agree. I see very little leadership from Candidate Phillips, his campaign manager or the local GOP.

Republicans have been handed all kinds of presents from this incompetent Mayor.

Yet, far too many Republicans are in bed with the guy and they want a quiet, ineffective party.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
One must not forget all council members approved this project more than a year ago. Did they even bother to read the plan before their vote? Who knows.
We who love the city's parks are grateful to you for your continued efforts to keep us informed.
More than 100 attended last evening's meeting including at least one attorney who said "due process" had not been met in the manner in which Pawlowski and Weitzel proceeded with this plan.
Some nearby residents said they never invited to any meeting or received any official notice.
Some spoke of park pavilions audio speaker nightmares and buses from a nearby commercial venture that also utilize pavilions.
Upon leaving, individuals said they were told the issue is a done deal, and that council members in attendance there for political purposes. Their words, not ours.

Anonymous said...

Please for those of us uneducated, explain the word requirement you installed last night. Does it allow anyone to follow our computer back to our keyboard?

Anonymous said...

Imaging taping a plan on a wall and thinking that is communicating with not just the public but your voters! Pawlowski indicates his continued contempt for any who disagree with him. Please tell us who are the two other council members who serve with Phillips on this particular committee.

Anonymous said...

For Tony to change his tune, he must admit he never read the bill.

Anonymous said...

Gentleman made good suggestion we thought. Take parts of this plan and "dot" the project through empty tracts of park land such as that huge grass area near MLK Drive. Really, every park now should be handicap accessible and have special equipment suitable for all city's children. Surprised city is not required by federal law to implement such a plan.

Anonymous said...

Eichenwalk admitted words "destination playground" were poor choice. She also said she will fight to keep Cedar Beach "green" as it is today. How can she do that w/o her fellow council members, maybe Mr. Molovinsky can explain.

Anonymous said...

Nearby Rose Garden and Cedar Beach residents citing last week's Sports Festival said parking has become such a critical issue, they can't even gain access to their homes during city special events.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:32, i was forced to install that word message gadget because every day i received 50 spam messages from china or india (in foreign language). that gadget is suppose to help reduce that problem. i have no way, or interest, in knowing who sends comments signed anonymous.

the park and recreation committee consists of phillips, howells and schweyer. howells is out of town on vocation, schweyer declined to attend and considers the matter closed. needless to say this meeting should have been held long ago. contrary to the reporter's opinion, i think something can still be done.

Anonymous said...

Former Police Chief Howells is lifelong city resident, so if he approved these plans, he must have known what he was doing. Let us not forget Schweyer, according to Tony, refused to attend meeting and also voted his approval.

Anonymous said...

Hope Rose Garden district residents hire legal counsel to
challenge park paradise plan in court.

Anonymous said...

There is always some goodness in such an event as last night's and for some, watching parents' children stand up to speak and looking at the smiles filled with pride on parents' faces was one.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:05, the plans per se were never approved. what was approved was the funds for the plans, often with just conceptional renderings shown on the same evening. because much of the money is grants, council paid little attention. if the truth be known, this council has yet to say no to this mayor. council, mostly michael D'Amore, did manage to have some of the funds taken from the cedar plan to be used in other parks. the west end residents are mostly unaware of the plan to use the stone house at ott and trexler blvd. for a cafe. that will require even more construction and parking. all enabling groups; trexler trust, friends of the parks, EAC, and the wildlands conservancy should be embarrassed. testimony from the EAC gentleman last evening showed a blatant political shill for pawlowski. how sad that our historic, iconic park system is being literally destroyed by completely useless, unwanted plans by resume builders.

Anonymous said...

Phillips needs to start campaigning.

What is his stand on this stuff and when is the action going to start?

City Council complains about the mayor but they do nothing. They constantly back peddle.

I guess Polansky gives them a good tongue lashing in between sessions. The bed wetters.

"Allentown the All American City" or "Allentown the City with no Cojones".

Except perhaps for a few select individuals including MM.

LVCI said...

As I stated on my blog on July 18th, "You Decide. OR.. have the contracts already been signed?". Guess I got my answer, eh?

What's even more important then this park issue, is the witnessing of complete arrogance. Allentown is being run by two dozen or so of well connected peoples.

Deals are struck and signed unbeknownst to the majority of us. Then in 'arrogance' they attempt to 'manage' the people rather then listen to them.

It would have been so simple for they city to wait until Nov. and place a public non-binding referendum on the ballot. AND they couldn't even do that!

How many more deals have you folks cut we don't know about yet? Why is it that bloggers have to discover these things?

As far as the future, I wish it were possible to not have any mayor at all, given the choices we're stuck with!

Even more insulting, "he directed his park director not to attend" Does this mean if the mayor says jump, he ask how high? Grow a set!

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”: That might be truth, but what if there are no good men?

LVCI said...

I've previously stated in comments on this very blog... "Tony will need to step up to the plate on the other issues such as logging and the budget long before Nov. elections if he is going to demonstrate leadership."

" Tony concluded by telling the crowd that they must organize and make their feeling's known to Council"

I now have my answer to this as well!

Anonymous said...

From everything I've heard, Weitzel bows to the mayor.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Former Parks executive office 19th century handcut stone building to be turned into for-profit wedding competition. It will need more than extra parking. It will need tons of unloading dock space, handicap parking, commercial cooking fans, garbage pick up, etc. Trees would have to be cut. There is no way right now that small structure can permit the type of parking that will be required. How city hall could compete with struggling wedding reception businesses is beyond us. Where is John Brinson who screamed when nonprofit Cedar Crest College built a poor for its students, seniors and special need younger children to enjoy and received some state grant funding to defray costs. Why isn't he up in arms over this new city venture.

Anonymous said...

Local folks have contacted Phillips to encourage him to campaign, even preparing issues that are timely and on target. He remains silent. It must be some kinda joke, his political announcement for mayor as he refuses to campaign, refuses to host press conferences, and last night, refused to say he would demand from council park protection. Let the people do it--is that the right mayoral stuff?

Anonymous said...

Cedar Crest College built a pool. sorry.

Anonymous said...

you all are really really late on this. Why wait until the absolute last minute considering this process has been underway for almost two years:

"ALLENTOWN ** CEDAR CREEK PARKWAY PLANS TOPIC OF MEETING
Morning Call, The (Allentown, PA) - Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Author: The Morning Call

A public meeting on plans for Cedar Creek Parkway in Allentown will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Allentown Public Library, 1210 Hamilton St.

Representatives of the city and the architectural firm Yost, Strodoski & Mears of York will detail the process to date, which includes preliminary site analysis of the 127-acre park. Attendees will be able to comment and ask questions.

A master plan will be developed for work on the park along Parkway Boulevard. The city was recently awarded $375,000 from the state and $264,000 from the Lehigh County to help renovate the park.

Yost, Strodoski & Mears was retained in June to identify goals and objectives for the park's development. The firm analyzed and investigated opportunities along Cedar Creek Parkway, including interviews with key people and organizations. The firm also was asked to make recommendations for Lake Muhlenberg, a trail network, playground facilities, support facilities, picnic pavilions, site amenities and other park issues.

Those who are unable to attend the meeting may e-mail comments to city Parks Director Greg A. Weitzel at Weitzel@allentowncity.org. Written comments also may be sent to 3000 Parkway Blvd., Allentown, 18104. "

Anonymous said...

AND

"Residents want "jewel' to shine ** Allentown council hears ideas to improve Cedar Creek Park.
Morning Call, The (Allentown, PA) - Thursday, February 7, 2008
Author: Paul Muschick Of The Morning Call

Residents offered suggestions for renovating Cedar Creek Park on Wednesday, telling Allentown City Council it should be made accessible for disabled children, restore eroded stream banks and protect animals.

The city is about a month away from presenting a final plan for renovating the park, which is the city's most heavily used and hosts the annual Mayfair and SportsFest events.

"Cedar is our crown jewel," Greg Weitzel, the city's parks, trails and recreation director, told council.

A map and sketches presented to council showed some of the proposed work, including a new playground and athletic courts, a children's creek walk, sculpture walk, exercise stations, a cafe, walkways to other nearby parks, and an improved Rose Garden for weddings and special events.

The park will be set up to include recreation areas for people of all ages and abilities, Weitzel said. He said the new playground would be fenced, something a few people demanded to accommodate autistic children.

"The gated area is crucial to a lot of our kids for safety," said Anita Ellsberry of Orefield.

Lisa Sportelli of Allentown, whose 8-year-old son has autism, told council that a party for autistic children had to be held in Salisbury Township because none of the city parks fit their needs.

Wilson Black, a professional photographer, asked the city to consult with photographers before making changes to the Rose Garden, a popular spot for wedding photos.

He said photographers could suggest how to redesign the area without creating problems with shadows, lighting and distracting background objects that could ruin photos.

Michael Adams urged the city to repair eroded stream banks in the park, and Virginia Wolfe of the Lehigh Valley Animal Rights Coalition asked that wildlife be protected.

Weitzel and Mayor Ed Pawlowski said both points would be dealt with.

Renovation costs were not discussed Wednesday, but Weitzel said the city has received state and county grants toward the work.

He said across the city, an estimated $20 million in park improvements are needed.

Pawlowski and Weitzel assured Councilman Tony Phillips that work also is planned at parks in other neighborhoods, including Keck Park and a trail on the east side.

Phillips had asked why the city was starting its park renovations in the affluent West End, and said residents of other neighborhoods could feel slighted that their parks are not receiving equal attention.

"We have a huge system," Weitzel said. "We have to plug away one by one."

Parks officials will be meeting with council members individually to gather feedback on the plan, and also intend to seek more public feedback. One public meeting was held last year.

Residents interested in reviewing the tentative plans for Cedar Creek can visit the parks office at 3000 Parkway Blvd., or call 610-437-7750.

paul.muschick@mcall.com

610-820-6582 "

Anonymous said...

If the park was perfected decades ago the southern portion of the lake would be nothing more than a stone parking lot as it was 15 years ago.

Improvements have been made and room for improvement always will exist.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 12:56, 12:57, 1:16 and all other apologists. if these plans had been properly publicized there would have been opposition earlier. don't confuse a reporter getting email announcements from the city clerk with the public being informed. zoning sends out notices to all affected neighbors, why not the park department. pawlowski and weitzel's absence last night was inexcusable. council admittedly voted on these appropriations without full information or proper diligence. this opposition is better late than never. please send any more such justifications elsewhere, perhaps to the friends of the parks, or allentown good news.

Anonymous said...

Parks officials will be meeting with council members individually to gather feedback on the plan, and also intend to seek more public feedback. One public meeting was held last year.


Actually, some here attended first and second meetings and no where to Wetizel nor his professional planners turn to the audience and state, "After this meeting is over, we plan to bring in bulldozers and forever destroy the Rose Garden."

Anonymous said...

Two meetings in two years and Weitzel and Pawlowski think they have sufficiently informed the public?

michael molovinsky said...

private comment to family wishing to help at fairview cemetery, you may reach chris casey at;
http://chriscaseystalesofterror.blogspot.com/
chris has been cleaning up veteran graves at the cemetery for over a year.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

no on reads your paper any more

ironpigpen said...

"Multi-generational Destination Playground"

We went over that before, Molovinsky. That was slick advertising yack and you know it! :)

Go Man Go

No pictures today?

Anonymous said...

From Molovinsky on Allentown, Rose Garden Weddings.

I am coming down Hamilton Street in the middle of a thunder storm and a bunch of people (30+ vehicles) decide to leave the festivities.

They simply drive across the grass and the curb onto Hamilton St. I guess that is why there are so many SUVs in Allentown.

Would love to see the condition of the park on Monday morning. Good planning park staff. "


SUVS make driving across curbing a routine now in all city parks.

Anonymous said...

MM.
Do you remember this statement?

"He said across the city, an estimated $20 million in park improvements are needed."

Anonymous said...

MM -

Forgive me for stating the obvious solution to our politicians:

If the city is hell-bent on spending the $$$ for a destination playground, why not buy the St. Elmo parcel Atiyeh owns and add it to the park system?

You could place the playground and a sufficiently-sized parking lot on the parcel and limit vehicle access to St. Elmo Street only (to minimize traffic concerns in the surrounding neighborhood). Add a biking/walking trail that connects the parcel to the rest of the park system.

Since the playground is going to be fenced in anyway, the nearby quarry is not a concern. Leave the Rose Garden and the rest of Cedar Parkway as is.

You've just solved two problems, and have two neighborhoods happy with City Hall instead of fighting it.

Anonymous said...

There are a dozen issues Phillips needs to dedate the mayor on; but eddy will continue to hide, sit out meetings, and live in the "rose garden!" If phillips does not call him out soooon, it is over!!