Aug 17, 2013

Walking With The New Park Director

I had respectfully requested, through the City Clerk, that City Council visit Robin Hood before any decision, to both see and hear the dam. Furthermore, I volunteered to take them, at their convenience, on a quick tour of the park's remaining WPA structures. Several days later, the clerk contacted me to confirm a time for me to show two council members the sites. I was delighted to hear that the new park director, John Mikowychok, would be joining us. Yesterday was the appointment, and John and I were the first to arrive. As we stood on the bridge, John told me that only 90% of the dam was being removed, and the portion near the water monitoring station would remain. I was shocked, I didn't know that the decision to remove the dam had already been determined. He then informed me that the Wildland's Conservancy was coming, and after learning the details from them on Robin Hood, we would proceed to the dams near the fish hatchery, also scheduled to be removed. The Conservancy crew arrived, with plans and documents in hand. Also by then, Council members Cynthia Mota and Jeff Glazier arrived, but my delight was gone. John explained the agenda, that first Wildland's would brief them about Robin Hood, then they would move on to the Fish Hatchery. I reminded the council members that they were there at my invitation, to see the dam, and then tour the WPA sites. To their credit, Glazier and Mota told Mikowychok that before going to the fish hatchery dams, they would take the tour with me. I wanted them to see how many park features previous park directors had arbitrarily destroyed, and perhaps be more inclined to preserve the dam.

I showed Mikowychok the abandoned island and the boat landing, things that he never saw before, or even knew existed. I found his indifference to the demise of these wonderful constructions astounding. When I criticized the tall thin weed wall blocking the entire creek view, he replied that a row of single tall weeds was better than none. He actually told Mota that the creek was more enticing when you could only get a glimpse of it here and there. It made me think of an old arcade peep show machine. It's too bad that the city hired another lobbyist for the Wildland's Conservancy as Park Director, instead of a defender of our unique park system, however, it's no surprise.  Both the out of town park directors were hired by the same out of town city manager. All three of them, four including the mayor, have no knowledge or appreciation of the formerly nationally recognized park system, in the former All American City. Wildland's was spouting voodoo science. They actually said that there's no fecal count in the creek, despite my photographs of creek shores filled with toilet paper. In order for them to harvest the current grant they must demolish the dam by the end of September. From the grant they also harvest administrative fees. The dam dates from the early 1940's, and has delighted five generations with it's sight and sound. The hard press is on City Council to approve this latest destruction with virtually no deliberation. I ask those who appreciate beauty and ambience to help me save our history.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

MM -

Refresh my memory - where did the grant to remove the dams come from?

Anonymous said...

MM,
I have said it before on your blog, the Hole of allentowns park system is slated for future development¿ This land like the stealing of the Arena Hole land is only for a select few to pocket the proceeds from¿
redd
U have not published me in a while?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the belly laughs Mike, my gut hurts from laughing please stop.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:13, i don't know specifically which agency(s) the grant(s) is from. they had a whole packet of endorsements from the bureau of politically correct back scratching bureaucrats. riparian buffers and dam removals are fashionable in common parks, but lehigh parkway is not a common park. it was commissioned by harry trexker and designed by meeham associates in 1928 as a creek centered park for the people. it is being converted into a science fair project for the wildland's to harvest grants and pay themselves salaries. they also claim support from mayor pawlowski for the project. on whose authority are such unilateral decisions made which will depreciate the park's design?

Anonymous said...

Why didn't you invite us to join you? We would have shared our knowledge of current severe damage to the park's grounds with Ms. Mota. Suspect the stone removal has something to do with the water sale.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:27, i invited the readers on a tour back in april. you can advise ms. mota twice a month at council sessions. the dam removals have nothing to do with the water sale to lca. the wildland's claim that this has been being planned with the city for years, and wonders why the opposition now? the truth is that there was no real public disclosure until very recently. i follow the parks closely, and had no idea until this past may.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Molovinsky,
Believe you are an advocate for the city's parks and if you didn't know, no way we would. It doesn't sound like Ms. Mota cares much about the parks as she at present allows public works trucks including a garbage truck! to park in the park without any explanation to city taxpayers. We would have enjoyed tagging along as we would act as advocates for your mission.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:47, i recommended that council members visit the dam before they vote, independently of me or anyone else. i also in the same communication volunteered to give them a tour of the wpa, separately or collectively, at their convenience. i felt that it would have been inappropriate to announce my invitation, or their responses, on this blog. likewise, i think it was inappropriate for mikowychok to take advantage of my arrangements, and invite the wildlands to come. he even went further, and wanted the council members to ignore my tour, and go directly with him and the wildlands crew to the dams at the fish hatchery. this blog is not an end until itself. it's a news letter for causes i find important. to that end, i interact with people, and attend events that are never mentioned here. i had met with mikowychok before, and was giving him the benefit of the doubt, until friday's experience.

michael molovinsky said...

@8:47, you wrote, It doesn't sound like Ms. Mota cares much about the parks as she at present allows public works trucks including a garbage truck! to park in the park without any explanation to city taxpayers i believe that mota does care about the parks, but cannot be expected to know, or act upon, every such detail. you should make such a complaint to the park department yourself, directly.

LVCI said...

Michael we've discussed some of these issues in the past. Please allow me to discuss possibly why these dams are being removed. I'm not claiming to be an expert, but here are a few my opinions why things aren't going your way.

Part 1 (The Dam Removals)
In this Morning Call Article published on July 24th, 2010 it said... "More than 33 million gallons of raw sewage entered the creek from 1999 to 2008... The illegal overflows violate the federal Clean Water Act, passed in part to force upgrades to municipal sewer systems, and must end by 2014, according to EPA orders issued in 2007 and 2009."

As I said I'm no expert but it stands to reason that if you remove the dams the flow rate will increase by eliminating the pooling of water behind them. Logic dictates that if one were to take water samples a few hours after a sewer overflow they would be higher if the dams were left in place. By increasing water flow the contaminants would disperse more quickly. This doesn't mean there wouldn't be the same amount of contaminants released in the river. But test results would come out looking better to the state. Pennsylvania demanded improvement by the end of this year (2013) or get fined.

Is the timing of removing these dams a coincidence?
I think not.

I'm not saying whether this a good thing or not, but it could explain both the timing and possible reasons for their removal irregardless of your efforts

LVCI said...

Part 2 (Riparian Buffers)
As you point out Michael creating the buffers has a pretty weak argument when you consider... for 10 miles on the North bordered by Tilghman Street and to the South by Hamilton Boulevard there are now signs posted along them indicating both are hazmat areas. They are posted because all the storm drains empty into Cedar Creek. This involves about 20 square miles of street water that pours into the creek every time it rains. This water includes city salting and cindering in the winter. Leaves in the fall. All of which is piped directly into the creek bypassing the riparian buffers completely. I think you might agree that this makes the case for riparian buffers a mute point. This similarly applies to the surrounding streets around the Lehigh Parkway and Jordan Creek along McArthur Road areas as well.

There's another thing that no one brought up concerning safety. Police drive regularly through the Lehigh Parkway on the way to the range. They and other drivers can no longer spot if a user of a trail was accosted. This applies to Cedar Beach as well.

Someone also pointed out that fisherman on opening day use to line the banks of the Jordan Creek around the Home Depot area. This areas is now being overrun by these buffers as well.

Two final thoughts. (1) While I agree with you 100%, under the threat of fines and having the backing of these so-called professionals your efforts will be an exercise in futilely. (2) Please continue to expose this, but understand the outcome has already been predetermined like nearly everything else that goes on around here.

And thank you for allowing me to post at length.

Anonymous said...

Wow. So when LVCI states raw sewage does flow through the Little Lehigh Parkway and others here write they smell awful odors that may be raw sewage, there might be a connection. Could it be a "good deed" may be fine prevention? Mr. Molovinsky,
You work so hard to help this city. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This similarly applies to the surrounding streets around the Lehigh Parkway and Jordan Creek along McArthur Road areas as well.

And from the annual Lights in the Parkway.

michael molovinsky said...

lvci, i do not believe that the dam removal by wildlands is directly connected, or meant as a remedy for the LCA pipe violations along the parkway. on the contrary, the wildlands, in an attempt to dispel my argument that the riparian is just tokenism considering the sewage, claims that there is no sewage problem; in other words they're willing to outright lie to implement their project. so much for their integrity and science! they also ignore the storm sewers emptying directly into the streams, bypassing the riparians. they ignore that we have our own fish hatchery. they ignore that wild trout can easily jump two foot dams. i don't dispute all their science; i recognize that dams are not natural, however, all things considered, allentown should respect and retain the designed park features for the beauty and magic they create.

Anonymous said...

"claims that there is no sewage problem"

Wouldn't a few independent water sample tests prove either way?

Anonymous said...

LVCI, for many reasons the buffer zones are not a moot point. With all due respect sir, you are simple incorrect on this. I'll spare MM the details. Ill just mention one, stream band errosion. A fact check is required here.

michael molovinsky said...

@5:36, the buffer zone is a moot point here on molovinsky on allentown. after i heard the wildlands say that there is no fecal content in the creek, i see no reason why this blog should allow pick and choose, cherry picking science in the debate. for honesty sake, i will concede that perhaps a buffer in some places may have limited benefit, but it's certainly not justified in the prime viewsheds of a public park.

Anonymous said...

Michael, FYI: Complaints have been made to the Mayors office and Parks Dept about employees speeding in their own cars and trucks and in city owned vehicles through the Little Lehigh Parkway. Also about the increased truck traffic and parking in the park itself. Those conversations were received as something of an imposition and in any case nothing what-so-ever has changed. At best the city was unresponsive. At worst,surley.
Citizen deserve better. Much better.
Thank you for the oppertunity to comment.