Jul 29, 2015

Waging War Against Allentown Park Weeds

Today, molovinsky leaves downtown Hamilton Street, and travels twenty blocks west to Cedar Park.  As an advocate for the traditional park system, I have been waging a war against the riparian buffers, which make our  magnificent parks an unsightly mess.  In Allentown, because the storm runoff systems are piped directly into the park streams, these token buffers are just a useless, unsightly insult.  This hot summer, this insult is added to injury, because Cedar Beach Pool is closed. Along the entire length of Cedar Park, there is not one area cleared of high weeds.  You would think that out of a mile of creek side,  we could mow the grass for at least fifty feet,  so that some children might enjoy the stream, as generations have in the past.


Jamie Kelton said...

Ed's concern is not with our park system. It never has been, why it was easier to close Cedar Beach. Those things cost money to maintain. It's on putting up playground swings that he can get a photo-op from and other issues

Such as saving his neck

michael molovinsky said...

jamie@5:55, correct, the recent photo-op erecting playground equipment at jordan park took two grants, the energy of the last three park directors, and three years of planning. cutting the grass by the stream would require only one more pass by the mower, but put no bullet point on a bureaucrat's resumé

Anonymous said...

I can tell you, this weekend THOUSANDS of out-of-town visitors will descend onto Cedar Creek Park to stage the annual drum corps competitions at Crum Stadium. This has been Allentown's largest annual convention for decades. Many people from around the world will spend 2-3 days at that park.

Always embarrassing for me to consider what they must be thinking about all those weeds. BIG tourism dollars will be left here by participants and our guests. Allentown has not been putting on its best face to greet them. A travesty.

Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

You must have read my mind. Monday night the Little Lehigh stunk like raw sewage. The manholes stunk worse. Did waste spill into the Little Lehigh, only testing can tell but the entire Lehigh Parkway's bridle path near the Police Academy was almost impossible to walk through because of the smell. Everyone noticed it and commented.
Sadly, some folks allowed their dogs to swim in the waste!

Anonymous said...

Best foot forward? The parks small metal garbage holders aren't even emptied in a timely fashion. Days go by as garbage spills onto the ground.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Jamie Kelton said...
Ed's concern is not with our park system. It never has been, why it was easier to close Cedar Beach. Those things cost money to maintain. It's on putting up playground swings that he can get a photo-op from and other issues

Such as saving his neck

July 29, 2015 at 5:55 AM

Check out the mayor's publicity event Wall of Shame properties. How do they look now?

Anonymous said...

In the big scheme of things, running a parks system is not splitting the atom.

It's mostly about maintenance.

Allentown doesn't need more pools, it just needs the pools it has to be open for the kids.

Doesn't need more parks. Just needs them mowed and things like walls, maintained. I'm not into the WPA structures as you Mike, but I don't like seeing walls falling down.

To a degree it's money because my impression is that this administration doesn't want to spend any of the so-called "our" money on parks. So it's 100% grants.

I think it's also mindset. You have a mayor who's sole focus is downtown and parks directors that are more about expanding the empire than maintaining it. Maintenance isn't prestigious and you often can't get somebody else's money to pay for it.

For me personally, having pools shut down during the summer is embarrassing incompetence. Unless a meteor hits it or a sinkhole opens up underneath it, taking pools offline during the summer is akin to taking the power plant offline for repairs during January.

michael molovinsky said...

@7:28, although this blog in the past has covered the sewage problem in lehigh parkway, it is not directly related to the storm runoff system, they are separate. allentown had been under federal mandate to improve the sanitary sewer system; now that LCA took over, they probably started the clock over again.

Anonymous said...

Aurel Arndt at the LCA is retiring, board has appointed Liesel Adam as his replacement.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Honestly, people need to begin questioning what appears to be lax behavior on the part of the Trexler Trust. I think their influence here could make improvements happen quickly.

Fred Windish

Dreaming of Justice said...

Coming from Washington DC- home to the incomparable National Arboretum, just strolling and observing the condition of the "Cedar Beach" area (talk about a misnomer!) was painful.

Flashy jungle-gymns are not the mark of a superior administration.
Livability- maintenance is. Trash, filthy snow, tumbled down walls, loitering young men, broken windows, crumbling sidewalks and pot-holed streets are the calling card of an indifferent and negligent City Hall.

For shame.

michael molovinsky said...

fred@8:46, before and after the trexler trust made sure that the rose garden, named after dominant trust member mal gross's family, received a total rehab, they have been missing in action. they are aware of the condition of the parks. (if not by observation, by my notices) unfortunately, they too have been part of the local network cronyism. pawlowski being marginalized may end up being a good thing for the neglected traditional institutions of this city, such as the park system.

Concerned Allentonian said...

"... In his Will, General Trexler provided that the City’s park system would receive, annually and perpetually, significant contributions from his private foundation for “the improvements, extension and maintenance of all its parks.”..."


Curious how much money has been received from the trust for park maintenance in recent years. The trust states it has assets over $100 million dollars.

You would think they would have enough in the trust to pay a weed wacker to keep the weeds next Cedar Creek down.

Maybe even fix falling stone walls in the Parkway ?

Anonymous said...

Trexler Trust is lazy and complacent. They are comfortable writing checks but don't ask them to make hard decisions or crack the whip on the city. That gets in the way of the social hour and the pretty annual reports.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I have always appreciated your advocacy for Allentown's parks, especially rebuilding the crumbling WPA projects. In this case, however, I'm not 100% behind you. Since I know the problems we have in the region with "black water" (sewage bubbling out of failing septic systems during rain events) and the issues in general with storm water run off (nasty stuff that rolls off of impervious surface and down into the streams when it rains)...and I know the almost miraculous impact that riparian buffers planted with native plants can have on stream water quality, I would like to see MORE riparian buffers planted around the region. That said, if you want park users to be able to get near the water (I hope to do a water sample before dipping their toes in there,) it seems a reasonable request. Shall we all show up with weed wackers at an appointed time and place to make your dream a reality?

Anonymous said...

The beautiful park streams that flow through Uncle Harry's gifts to allentowns public are about to become Hudsons one and all¿ Just think of the site of Dorney parks pond and Cedar Beach's and officials have been complaining of the duck dropings¿

patent pending

michael molovinsky said...

@12:34, i took the photo of the children by cedar creek over three weeks ago. i was hoping to prevail upon the new park director to finish mow just 50 feet of stream side, closest to the picnic pavilions, by honochick drive. three mowings later, and august approaching, i decided to racket up the effort with this post. there is no sewage pipe along the creek there, as in lehigh parkway. i assure you that the water quality is fine for kids to experience the creek, understand that the water is only 8 inches deep. also understand that the storm runoff pipes empty directly into the stream, by-passing the buffers. and finally understand that the buffers get so overgrown with invasive species, that they're now being rough cut several times a summer. so, it's not a real riparian buffer anyway, but rather a barrier to children enjoying their summer.

Anonymous said...

When I was very young, perhaps about 8 or 9 years old, my dad bought an innertube for a car tire. This was, of course, before tire tubes became obsolete. This was in the early 1960s.

At about Bogart's Bridge, I'd put the tube in the creek and get in it. sitting with my legs over the tube.. and would float though the parkway. He'd get in the car and drive along as I floated though the park and kept an eye on me. Eventually where the bridge is now at the other end, I'd paddle with my hands over to the side of the creek and get out. where he'd pick me up.

It was creek water, of course, and it was relatively clean I suppose. Would see a lot of little fish the creek and we would do this once a week though the summer.

Of course, today the bridge in the center of the parkway no longer can be driven over, so essentially we have two parkways. One at the 15th street entrance; one at the 24th street entrance.

Times change....

Anonymous said...

Besides cutting the grass so the kids can swim, and fisherman do not have to worry about tripping, and being strangled by tree, and brush overgrowth. At lest one tree should be cut to create a rail that can be used to run Mr. Pawlowski out of town.

Ted Yost

michael molovinsky said...

@2:00, times do change, but also our public assets change by poor decisions. replacing the iron bridge with a pedestrian only bridge was a poor decision. demolishing the small wpa dam by robin hood was a poor decision. allowing a weed and bush barrier blocking both view and access to the stream is a poor decision. combine a" from out of town" mayor, with a "from out of town park directors", we now have park policy decided by the wildlands conservancy, who pay their salaries by getting grants from the state and federal government, to institute policies not appropriate in an iconic park system like allentown. can you imagine demolishing an 8 inch high WPA dam that provided beauty and sound, just because grants are available. for the same amount of money the wall, could have been repaired in the parkway. now we have no dam, no wall and no access to the park. i only hope that the next mayor has some knowledge and background of allentown.

LVCI said...

"so, it's not a real riparian buffer anyway"
I absolutely agree. Aesthetics aside... These weeds undoubtedly encourage, without the use of pesticides, insects like mosquitoes, flees, flies, ticks, etc.

I'm not aware if the city is spraying them. If they are it kind of defeats their purpose I would think. All pesticides carry at least some risk in their use. Besides for what pesticides cost a gallon or two of gasoline & a weed whacker would pretty much accomplish the same thing.

I'll add one more thought. If I grew these weeds on my property and called them a "riparian buffer" what do you think they city would say about that!

Anonymous said...

Please accept apology for addressing the Little Lehigh's stream conditions.

michael molovinsky said...

@6:02, no apology necessary, we all have pet peeves about the state of the park system. i have the option of not printing, or printing and then deleting, any comment i find objectionable. suffice to say that any comment which remains, i feel contributes to dialogue in some way. your readership is appreciated.

Canary_In_Coalmine said...

I am among the generations who spent many afternoons floating down Cedar Creek in an inflatable raft, mostly between the footbridge and the car bridge, often before or after a visit to Cedar Beach Pool. Sometimes grabbed a handful of weeping willow branches and swung to and fro. Was the flow direction of Cedar Creek changed since the 80s?