Aug 8, 2013

Robin Hood Dam Reprieve

When I approached City Council in May about the Robin Hood Dam, I questioned the Wildland Conservancy's rationale for demolishing the dam. Water quality and fish migration seemed moot points. The overflowing sewer line, along side of the creek, is the gorilla in that argument. With the fish hatchery, and hundreds of fisherman who line the creek banks, it seems as if the good General Trexler anticipated any problems in that department. I raised the issue that removing the dam may threatened the Robin Hood Bridge, as the water flow would increase both it's depth and velocity. Rich Young, Public Works Director, conceded that the Wildland's had submitted no engineering studies with their plan to demolish the dam. City Council agreed with my concerns, and I was told that they would conduct a meeting, to which I would be invited, before any work commenced. Last week, we learned that the Conservancy had gone ahead and removed the dam in Jordan Park. Last night, Francis Dougherty, City Manager, revealed that the Wildland's wanted to start with Robin Hood's demolition. Also last night, Councilwoman Cynthia Mota agreed to conduct the previously promised meeting in September. Although my previous questions are still relevant, I'm becoming more militant about this issue. The dam should remain if for no other reason than the beauty of it's sight and sound. Who the hell is Wildland's Conservancy to destroy an icon of Lehigh Parkway. The truth be told,  they are using our park system as a venue to harvest grants, and administrative fees that come with them. A quick visit to Lehigh Parkway will bring tears to your eyes. The creek is no longer visible anywhere, hidden by a wall of weeds and invasive species, the result of another grant by the Wildland's Conservancy. I have requested that City Council visit the park, to see and hear the dam before any vote.


Anonymous said...

Guess they destroy the bridge and then say you were right.

Anonymous said...

Is Robin Hood the only dam getting a reprieve? Will Wildlands be removing any other dams in Allentown before the public has a chance to weigh in?

I'd like to see the dam upstream from the Fish Hatchery spared.

Is there any history on why the "dams" were originally built?

michael molovinsky said...

@8:29, me efforts were only directed at robin hood. the dam in jordan park has already down, and it's unclear to me if dougherty put a hold on the fish hatchery or not. i did get him to confirm the hold on robin hood for the record.

to my knowledge the robin hood dam dates to 1941, when the bridge was built, as perhaps the last wpa project in allentown. it replaced what was referred to as a cow bridge. there was a diary farm at the far end of the parking lot. i'll guess that the fish hatchery dam dates back to the hatchery, which was a general trexler project, but i've done no research on that one.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the background.

My thought is that there may have been an environmental reason they were installed.

I know the General was a great naturalist. I'll put my trust in his judgement over the grant-motivated Wildlands people any day.

Anonymous said...

A great naturalist---agreed. He would support a management style that would,at least in part, support a place for birds,butterflies and other lovely creatures. The General did not want the place to look like a golf course.

michael molovinsky said...

@4:29, he did support such a place, it was the trexler game preserve. as for the parks, he hired landscape architects,because he didn't want unkempt wildlands. his first park, west park, was very manicured. He had lehigh parkway designed with meadows and ponds, created by dams. trexler park, which was his own private estate, testifies to the fact that he was indeed into the refined english look. i was glad to host your point of view, but it's revisionism. It is not what trexler wanted, or how the park system was when created. i spent my youth in those parks, and the history of the parks is well documented. you will have to place your future comments on some wildland blog, but this isn't it.