Sep 2, 2009

An Unauthorized Interview

There is a nice little authorized interview with Greg Weitzel, Director of Parks, on Andrew Kleiner's blog. ( Here is an unauthorized one, maybe even worse. This morning at the Rose Garden, after Weitzel generously afforded me some time, he asked if our conversation would be on my blog, I made a gesture indicating it would not. Although I meant my answer at the time, as I drove back to the bunker where this blog is created, his words kept repeating in my reluctant mind. I say reluctant, because it was my intention to decompress for a few days with my historic type postings on Allentown's better days. Upon reflection, I found Weitzel's words need some discussion; maybe sort of an unsolicited reality check for him and a flag for us.

Weitzel claimed that the Rose Garden neighbors are delighted with the improvements in the garden, and that their property value will increase because of it. He stated he can prove property values go up with improved parks, citing several studies. MR. WEITZEL, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT THE ALLENTOWN ROSE GARDEN WAS MAGNIFICENT, AND YOU COULD NEVER IMPROVE ON IT. It was my hope, and all of us who rallied to defend this gem of Allentown, that your plans didn't destroy the classic ambience that people have been coming to admire for 80 years. Please try to understand that any study or statistic you could cite does not apply to Allentown's Rose Garden, and it's surrounding beautiful neighborhood. It makes me very nervous that you cannot differentiate between the iconic Allentown Park System and the generalizations citied in your college textbook. Do yourself a favor, and don't tell the neighbors that you have improved their property values, you will only peeve them off.


Andrew Kleiner said...

The Rose Garden is magnificent Micheal. The work being done there right now will not change it. If they were installing slip and slides and bumper cars it would be a problem. A pathway, four stone columns and new staircases have not destroyed the rose gardens and will not destroy them.

Thanks for the link to my blog despite the adjective usage. I think it important to talk to the director of parks as it is the parks my blog is studying.

I hope you can make it out to the litter clean up I am organizing at Riverfront. I haven't seen you at one of my meet-ups yet.

michael molovinsky said...

andrew, i commented on your blog that i do not believe in clean ups. i have never littered in my life, and do not clean up after other people. weitzel said previously that he believes improved parks will instill more pride and result in less litter. considering they just rebuilt bucky boyle, so much for that theory. i think it would be better if weitzel concentrated on maintenance vs. "improvements" and not counted on the public to not litter or other public to clean up after the ones who do.

no, you haven't seen me at one of your meet-ups, and you haven't responded to my invitation to a private tour with me.

michael molovinsky said...

andrew, the paths do change the ambience of the gardens, they visually dominate the field of view. i can accept them as part of the ADA, but will continue to question and challenge all these plans.

Anonymous said...

With all deference to Mr. Weitzel's musings you need to remember who this man's boss is.

King Edwin is a classic bully and Weitzel equally appears to be the classic victim.

Bully's power comes through their threats and intimidation, covertly as well as overtly. Just can't be a whole lot of park job vacancies around in the current economy.

Of course he is going to say the neighbors love him.

I guess now he is taking surveys in "real time" to make up for his prior noncommunicative debacle re the aberration being built at Cedar Beach.

Or perhaps many of the neighbors are members of the exclusive "friends of EP" club.

The misstatements will continue until eventually this pseudo amusement park is built and operational.

Reminds me of the crime cameras. Does anyone remember them anymore? For all the money that was spent for them, did anyone ever make an effort to measure crime before and after.

I doubt it. The concept was too flawed to begin with. Duh!, all you need to do is move out of the range of the camera to not get your picture taken. This is not rocket science, remember this is Allentown.

What should one expect after eight years of Afflerbach-esque administrations?

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:07. i fear after the election the neighbors of cedar park and the TRUE friends of the parks, not the cheerleading squad pawlowski assembled, will have to again assume a defensive posture. i asked weitzel what the plan was for the stone house, and he said he "didn't know". considering the cedar park plan had it indicated for a cafe, he should know the current intentions.

Anonymous said...

did you indicate that you would not use the conversation this blog and then turn around and do so? HOLY COW, you have no ethics!

I normally read your stuff and process it with the other information out there, but now I seriously doubt I can trust you as a person. Perhaps that's overly dramatic, but your unwillingness to act with integrity on this matter just lost an ear that would always be willing to hear you out.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 9:30. no, that was not the case. first we had the conversation, and then afterwards, weitzel asked if i was recording it, and i said no. fyi, before i posted the blog i contacted weitzel and told him my intentions. also, fyi, i'm often told things in confidence which i never reveal, even from mr. weitzel.
anon 9:30, i suspect you had little use for me before this posting.

LVCI said...

He stated he can prove property values go up with improved parks..

Property values going up mean only two things;
(1) You only benefit if/when you want to sell.
(2) Reappraisals to help fill Allentown's budget void.

One must ask oneself, who initiated this?
The neighbors OR the city?

If you correctly answered 'the city', watch out for (2).. YIKES !!

michael molovinsky said...

lvci, mr. weitzel's surveys are not site specific. in reality, increased use of the parks will devalue the neighborhood, which already suffers from park over usage. several people who testified at city council indicated they were considering moving, and a few actually have put their houses for sale.

Anonymous said...

930am here... my reading of the article was different than your clarification.

don't underestimate my hearing you out. I don't always agree (50/50 split) but I always listen.

LVCI said...

michael molovinsky said..."a few actually have put their houses for sale."

I wish them luck. We walk several times a month in these areas and many of these homes have been on the market for well over a year.

Anyone familiar with the asking prices of these homes are reluctant since they can buy far newer homes in the burgs w/o the uncertainties of Allentown.

One of these homes has an city orange uninhabitable sign on it at the corner of 30th & Allen Sts. Itt appears the owners who started to rehab gave up on it and walked away after 2 years on the market leaving behind the FEDERAL HOME LOAN MORTGAGE CORP out of Texas to buy it for $1 this past July.

It be this one if I'm not mistaken

Taxes on this home would be $15,626.35... appraised at $471,000 while market value is worth far less then that, especially in it's current circumstance. That doesn't help the owner of a home just down the street trying to sell theirs only about one block away.

The strong market desire to live in West end Allentown seems to have lost it's glow in the big picture. New York realtors simply are steering people away into the burbs. The very people that could afford to buy these big ticket homes.

LVCI said...

Here's The multi listing on 2949 Allen Street

Anonymous said...


Great location for a up-scale drug rehab.

Go Eddie go!

Gotta be a grant out there somewhere.

Work your Chicago magic. Develop this city boy!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky, this is a small point of "contention" here, I guess, but I want to say that I live in the 1st ward, and although yes, there is still litter in Bucky Boyle, it is so much better now than it used to be.

Anonymous said...

Why not ask a REALTOR? Select any property but keep the actual address private and ask a REALTOR.
What would Weitzel know about real estate. Just wait till
beer bottles roll across Park Boulevard Monday mornings.

Anonymous said...

To Andrew.
Didn't you start school? Surprised you are still blogging.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't the state's seller disclosure act require these homes for sale owners to reveal city's park expansion plans that may directly or indirectly affect buyer tranquility and future property value?

Anonymous said...

Had a moment today to catch up on Molovinsky. Wow. What information you have given us. Sad example of what has happened to mortgages, lenders, property owners and adjacent owners.
Sold $400K about and resold $1.00.
Is the house in poor condition? Why did new buyers walk away? 30th and Allen has always been a beautiful area. Sad to hear about this and for the neighbor trying to sell.