Sep 26, 2011

Lesson at Dieruff


A Dieruff High School social studies teacher would not have to take his class very far for a lesson in Allentown's history. Although never elected, East Side activist Dennis Pearson has been complaining for thirty years that the East Side always get short changed in Public Works. Such was the case in the mid 1930's, during the WPA work in Allentown. Roosevelt's New Deal program built the elaborate walls in the south side's Lehigh Parkway. Central Allentown received the magnificent Lawrence Street stairwell. The culturally elite of west Allentown received the Union Terrace Amphitheater, envisioned for Shakespeare. Pearson's east side got a few scattered steps to nowhere. The steps remained, and thirty years later Allentown built Dieruff High School. With expansions and renovations, some of the steps now adjoin the school. Flash ahead to the summers of 2009 and 2010.




I lobbied Allentown City Council members to appropriate some of the $millions of dollars in Cedar Park plans to begin preserving the irreplaceable WPA structures, starting to crumble throughout our park system. East Side elected councilman, Michael D'Amore, assured me that he only signed off on the Administrations plan, with the stipulation that the steps in Irving Park-Dieruff area would be restored at the same time. The work in Cedar Park was completed last year, including $millions of dollars with of recreation equipment from catalogs. The deterioration of the steps around Dieruff continues. Now there's a lesson in government!
photos courtesy of Mark Thomas

13 comments:

binzley said...

MM: Perhaps the larger lesson here is the the riches one finds in life are dependent on what neighborhood in which one lives.

michael molovinsky said...

gary, although the post opened the door for your usual social commentary, historically, the east side of allentown was not impoverished. educationally, only six feet beyond the school's door, is a field trip on history, government and civics; but i suppose that would be too easy and inexpensive, for today's educational experts.

Anonymous said...

Find his signed-off document and post it here. Shame on him. Doesn't this guy teach our next leaders.

Anonymous said...

Dennis really cares about his community. He's everywhere. Not a government meeting or event he doesn't show up. It's sad to see whats happened to Hanover Avenue.
Block upon block of empty storefronts.
Someone recently said East Allentown should try to annex itself to Bethlehem. It might receive far better treatment.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 5:45, because of your comment, i must clarify; d'amore told me had an assurance, not a legal document.

Patrick McHenry said...

MM -

I think D'Amore's statement to you and others was more likely an attempt to curry favor with East Side voters in the short term. D'Amore knew he was looking for another office for quite some time.

That the repairs have not happened (or will not happen) is inconsequential.

D'Amore fooled enough people for enough time to get elected as district magistrate. Mission accomplished.

Anonymous said...

MM, you may have noticed the mid-block steps along the Jerome St side of the park were riped out last year. A real shame.

binzley said...

MM: You need to prepare a lesson on the WPA with local slides and offer it to Dieruff (or Allen) to be taught in a social studies class. You could teach it and walk to a site. Don't complain about teachers using complex and expensive field trips (your usual commentary) if you. as a concerned citizen. fail to offer your assistance. I am sure it would be welcome and it would be an important addition to our students' education experience.

michael molovinsky said...

gary, i do not need to do anything. i receive no shortage of suggestions as to what i should do, look at and write about. fyi, i have made future commitments in regard to allentown's wpa. also fyi, last year a student at allen contacted me because her research on allentown's wpa only turned up this blog. now, because of this blog, she will find reference in the morning call.

Anonymous said...

D'Amore fooled enough people for enough time to get elected as district magistrate. Mission "accomplished"
That arrogant buffoon is a DM?
For how long have I been sleeping?

michael molovinsky said...

i believe d'amore is on the ballot in november for that position. there is no commitment toward these structures by anybody on council. they also approved the trail network plan, supposedly to connect the city with the parks, but completely ignored the lawrence street steps, which were built for that exact purpose. what they paid that consultant could have rebuilt the steps.

Patrick McHenry said...

MM -

I could be wrong but I believe D'Amore won on both sides of the ballot in the primary, thus assuring he will win in November.

Anonymous said...

I love the smell of Rubber-Stamp early in the morning or late at night ... it smells like ... Politburo!

I love committed Class Warriors bravely championing the cause of the Proletariat against all odds, circumstance and/or logic, too.

I definitely love destroying natural charm and beauty in the Park very much, as well, but what I absolutely adore, however, is Unassailable Government essentially confiscating private properties so I can knock down big buildings and make way for a Palace of Sport.

Can hardly wait to get started ...

BIG BAD BULLDOZER