Oct 11, 2014
South Whitehall Commissioners Double Down On Master Plan
Why did you play there? the girl asks
Grandmom used to like and sit and look at the dam, the mother replies
What's a dam?
It's a wall that the creek water would flow over.
Is there a creek there mom?
In January of 2014 the South Whitehall Commissioners adopted the Covered Bridge Park Master Plan. It was an expensive plan created by a landscape architectural firm in tandem with input from the Wildlands Conservancy. The public input meetings were either sparsely attended or not at all. What emerged is a unimaginative hodge podge of contemporary environmental hocus pocus and catalog recreational tubberware. What is gone is the beautiful park, enjoyed by generations of township residents. The environmentalists would demolish the dam and replace the vista with a 75 foot wide riparian buffer. This buffer would run the entire length of creek, leaving only a glimpse of the creek as residents cross one of the three bridges. Former icons of the park, such as the dam, would be represented by interpretive signs. A huge playground, featuring Playworld equipment, would be the park's new centerpiece, replacing the current beauty and history.
Enter the Wildlands Conservancy in June of 2014, realizing that the Commissioners are invested both financially and mentally into the Master Plan. Out of this opportunity, they declare that demolishing Wehr's Dam is now their highest priority. We who are defending Wehr's Dam are here to tell you that like water over the dam, the money spent on the Master Plan is gone. However, we will not allow the beautiful park to be lost to our children and grandchildren, just to accommodate the Wildlands Conservancy's agenda.
photograph by Mary K Hess