Jul 17, 2009
The Perfect Storm
In August of 1955, the Lehigh Valley got hit with Hurricane Diane, one of the most powerful to ever hit the area. The flood stage reached by the Lehigh and Delaware Rivers has never been seen before or since. The Allentown Parks weathered the storm fairly well. Unfortunately now, fifty four years later, our beloved parks are about to be destroyed by the perfect storm. In 2005, for the first time ever, we elected an outsider for Mayor. In 2007 he hired an outsider for Park and Recreation Director. This gentleman, well qualified in recreation, has no background in parks. In 2002, because the Afflerbach Administration was misusing Trexler Trust funds for operational expenses, those funds were frozen by Court Order and accumulated. In 2005 The Trexler Trust paid for a study of appropriate park projects, done by an outside firm from Philadelphia, for future guidance on how its funds might be used; also during this year certain members of the Trexler Trust became involved in the effort to elect Pawlowski. By 2008 the Perfect Storm had formed to assault the historic view of our Park System; an outside park director, an outside mayor, a huge amount of money and a politically supportive Trexler Trust.
The plans for Cedar Creek Park offend almost everybody who grew up in Allentown; most of us didn't learn of them until recently, long after they had been funded by City Council. They include a Destination Playground above Cedar Beach Pool and a Wedding Pavilion in the Rose Garden. Ironically, the Philadelphia Study, known now as the Master Plan, calls for less use in Cedar Park. The WildLands Conservancy will plant a Riparian Buffer Zone throughout the Park System. As these bushes grow higher, except for a few places, park goers will not be able to see or approach the creeks. As the Riparian Buffers grow wider, more recreational venues are planned in the remaining green spaces; including skateparks, additional parking lots, additional picnic pavilions and restrooms. The Conservancy refers to seeing the creek as the old fashioned English and French Park values. What the Conservancy fails to understand is that our parks are not wildlands, they are parks. What the mayor and park director fail to understand is that thousands of Allentownians treasure our old fashion park values. Although much of these projects will be funded by the Trexler Trust and other grants, the maintenance costs will be borne by the Allentown taxpayers. I and other old fashion types will continue in our attempt to defend our parks.
Addendum: Of the $3.8 million dollars Mr. Weitzel was allocated to remodel our park system, $482,000.00 may be spent on
professional services and consultation