Sep 16, 2015
Abuse At Cedar Park
After the previous park director, John Mikowychok, was here only three weeks, he endorsed the Wildlands Conservancy demolishing the Robin Hood Dam. To add insult to injury, he allowed them to pile the destroyed dam rubble around the stone piers of the Robin Hood Bridge, depreciating the beauty of a view enjoyed by generations of Allentonians. I told Mikowychok at the time, that however long he stays in Allentown, he will never climb out of the hole in damage he allowed. As it turned out, he stayed only about a year. The new park director, Lindsay Taylor, has already dug her self a rut. This past weekend, after last Thursday's rain flooded Cedar Park, the heavy support and supply trucks for Artsfest rutted the soft park ground. The ArtsFest is a nice event, but it's held in the wrong place. It's the wrong place for the overused and abused park, and it's the wrong place for the arts festival. It should be held in an urban environment, downtown. It could be a real boost for center city, either on Hamilton Street, or by the Alternative Art Gallery, on N. 4th Street.
The festival was held in area much larger than necessary to accommodate the event, and it rained two more times during the festival. Consequently, the large box and flatbed trucks necessary to supply and support the event did extensive damage to the park. I do not blame the organizers of ArtsFest in any way. There's a long history of such events in the park section east of Ott Street. However, this is the first such event held west of Ott, in the Rose Garden section of the park. Although this western section has been used before, it was confined to spill over from Sportsfest, and involved only golf cart type vehicles. The combination of soggy ground and heavy trucks produced 12" ruts through out the park. It will take the park department no less than $30,000 in material and manpower to restore the area, assuming that they do. This is the good news, the bad is that nobody, save this blogger, may care. The Morning Call mentioned nothing of the damage in their review about the festival. I know that Mayor Pawlowski didn't care about the parks before his own current problems, neither did City Council.
At the very least, as long as the park department is going to allow such events and damage in the parks, they should have a designated park for such fairground type use. That park should have an area which stays dry from creek flooding. It's time for the Department of Parks and Recreation to show more respect for the classic beauty of Allentown's parks.
photograph by Harry Fisher/The Morning Call