Dec 6, 2013

I Must Respectfully Decline

                                                      photo by Tami Quigley
Last spring I conducted a well attended tour of the WPA structures in Lehigh Parkway for  Friends Of The Allentown Parks. We ended the tour at the last WPA structure built in Allentown, the Robin Hood Bridge. This fall I unsuccessfully tried to save the dam, which was built with the bridge as part of the beautiful setting. The Wildlands Conservancy had a grant to remove the dam, from which they also harvest administrative fees. In a crass act of destruction they removed the dam, and piled the broken dam rubble around the beautiful stone piers, destroying a classic view which Allentown had enjoyed for over 70 years. A naturalist told me the other day that the project even disappointed from his environmental point of view. The stream is no deeper, the silt didn't reduce, and a large portion of the former stream-bed is exposed. Although I recognize and support Friends Of The Parks as a most worthwhile organization, I must respectfully decline their invitation to conduct another tour this coming spring. It is apparent that this Mayor, City Council and even the new park director have no appreciation of the irreplaceable gifts that were bestowed upon our park system so many years ago.


Anonymous said...


The Lehigh Parkway disappoints.Because of the changes(can't see the stream) we seldom visit.Too bad.

Scott Armstrong

S_Alderfer said...

Mike - I know that you are disappointed with the resulting aesthetics. No one can ever challenge you on your passion for the Lehigh Parkway. But its still too soon to judge the project's results, because the the dam was just removed in October. There have not been enough big storm events since the removal to expect to see any significant flushing of sedimentation from the stream. Dredging the sediment from the stream was outside of the scope of the dam removal and of the permit for the work. The stream will flush itself out over the course of a series of heavy storm events. Check again next Fall and then again the following summer, and I think you'll likely see a different flow pattern where the dam was. It won't look like an improvement to you, but the fish will appreciate it.

michael molovinsky said...

scott, between the fish hatchery stocking trout, and native trout having no problem jumping a twelve inch dam, i believe the fish are indifferent. however, the degradation to the "aesthetics" has depreciated the park permanently.

Bill said...

It looks terrible. Any chance those chunks of broken stone around the bridge piers will also wash away? Unconscionable, any group that truly cared about that park would never have done that. Please Mr Alderfer, don't try to spin it as additive to our park, what was done is a travesty.

Anonymous said...

The fish will appreciate it? What about the urban taxpayers who pay to support this park as a place to escape and enjoy the "park". In a city park one could reasonably expect to see the water, not have the view blocked by a barrier of high weeds. Frankly it looks ridiculous.

Scott Armstrong