Jul 31, 2015

Park Follies and Misappropriations

Over the years this blog and myself have established credibility and expertise on Allentown's traditional park system and the WPA. I must report what I consider to be a major shenanigan by the mayor. $1.3 million dollars was taken to purchase two heavy industrial areas, to supposedly add to the park system. This $million plus dollars was taken from the water/sewage lease, which is being used as the mayor's discretionary fund, instead of the dedicated pension relief,  promised at the time. $950,000.00 was used to buy the parcel at Union and Basin Streets, near the city sewage plant. This is one of the oldest industrial areas in the city, and certainly not needed for more park land. Allentown has not been able to maintain the existing park land, or the features within it. The Fountain Park Pool has been abandoned, and the WPA structures are crumbling. The other just purchased parcel is the old fertilizer plant location,  along Martin Luther King Dr., west of the crumbling Schreibers Bridge. We have an administration with no memory or knowledge of Allentown's past. Anybody who knew what went on at the fertilizer/rendering plant, would not want their grandchildren playing there. The city's rationale for these purchases is to expand the biking paths and connect the parks. That's the folly, and now the misappropriations. Allentown has supposedly allocated money to engineer the repair of the leaning WPA wall in Lehigh Parkway. I know why the wall leans. Years ago, the stone shoulder between the park entrance and wall was blacktoped. As cars and city trucks drive around the curve, pressure is exerted against the wall. That strip of asphalt needs to be removed, and the stone buffer restored. The problem with the engineering study is that it's the third time it has been appropriated. In the last two budgets money was actually budgeted to repair the wall, now the process begins again. What happen to the previous appropriations? Must molovinsky on allentown now also establish expertise in forensic accounting?

reprinted from June 26, 2014

UPDATE: This morning, I interrupt my planned schedule to republish the above piece from June 26, 2014, which is linked to in a post by Bernie O'Hare. The shoulder, which I refer to along the now collapsed wall in Lehigh Parkway, also served as a drainage swale. Over the past several years I had met with two park directors and the city engineer, to no avail, trying to save the wall. Recently, I have reported a problem to the current park director about the Union Terrace WPA structure, that needs immediate attention. At this point in time, I'll leave any analysis of purchase and gain of those parcels to Mr. O'Hare. However, I will say that rather than the parcels connecting the parks, in reality, they are connecting the neglect.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

In another twist on the MLK property (old fertilizer plant), the city recently lost both state and county grants for work on that parcel to connect the parks. The combined total of the grants was in the $650,000 to $750,000 range, with the city contributing another $350,000 toward the project.

In early 2013, Pawlowski spoke before county commissioners saying that the project was ready to go once spring came, and their approval for the county grant was urgently needed to obtain the state grant.

In June of 2015, it was reported that the state grant had expired due to lack of action and the county grant had also expired.

Apparently connecting the parks wasn't really that important to the Mayor, since he could have still used City money (from his water-lease slush fund) to accomplish it. Looking back at it now, it seems that the only real "connection" was to give the city cover for the Atiyeh transaction.

monkey momma said...

Unfortunately, forensic accounting is exactly what is needed to uncover the how of Allentown's WPA structural demise, despite appropriations being allocated. The "why" is easy: the stones don't buy votes, and no one is giving out grants to maintain them. Our local leadership is completely and totally for sale, and they don't work for free.

Even if the FBI raid turns up nothing "illegal," I have lost confidence in everyone currently holding a position of authority in this city to do the right thing. Enough "legal" shenanigans have been revealed (mostly through blogs, but also thru the paper) for me to realize that fighting city hall is pointless unless you bring a big checkbook.

DreamingOfJustice said...

Reporting major shenanigans is what you do best! LOL

michael molovinsky said...

@7:24, bernie o'hare in his post today was mistaken that i didn't know the parcel was owned by atiyeh; i reveal that information in the comments to the original post on june 26, 2014. what another commenter states back then, is that the former rail road right of way, through that parcel, would have provided the inter-park connection, without buying the parcel. that rail spur line was called the quarry barber, which i also have posted about. although, i have no knowledge of the pawlowski/atiyeh motivation alleged by bernie, i do know that expanding the park system should have been the last priority of the park department, considering the widespread neglect of existing features. between the succession of uninformed park directors, pawlowski and the wildlands conservancy, the parks have suffered tremendously.

Anonymous said...

Upon further reflection, Greg Weitzel left town when the getting was good.
I am prepared to concede the guy only appeared to be a dummy.

Anonymous said...

MM,
as we head into yet another edited out newsworthy weekend, we are just reading about "What's in the Flopp" for Allentown pa as was clearly stated by Allentowns new state Representational tool Repetitive boy Sweyer¿

This type of Reprehensible I'll behaviors have been incubated into today's political parasites acting as a Hole yet separated by the homeroom home rule Laws of taking advantage of the disadvantaged indigent children's children for many years too come on nothing more than a chance bet¿


redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

The Trexler Trust was the only adults in the room and they turned their backs and looked away.
I don't get it.

michael molovinsky said...

@2:02, unfortunately, the trexler trust was dominated by pawlowski associates. i was for a time sending them pertinent posts from this blog, but have stopped deluding myself with such actions.

Anonymous said...

Another piece of Allentown's park system/history knocked down this week. Just a pile of bricks at Dixon and Delaware.