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

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is an example of utter stupidity and incompetence.
These people are fools incapable of managing even the simplest tasks.
The Parks Committee of City Council is chaired by an idiot. The current new Parks Director doesn't have a grasp of the most basic park features and daily management continues to decline.
The fallen walls at the Lehigh Parkway entrance are a fitting metaphor.

WHERE THE HELL IS MALCOLM GROSS AND THE TREXLOR TRUST?????????

michael molovinsky said...

@5:03, officially, the trexler trust, although a major contributor to the park budget, doesn't determine how the funds are used. however, considering the current political chaos, and the neglect and subsequent collapse of the parkway wall, i'm hopeful that the trust will exert their influence with a new administration.

as i written before, i approached city council and requested to be appointed as a special envoy representing the traditional park system and the WPA. my request was ignored; i will put aside that rejection, and continue making the request, because my recommendations to council are needed, even if council doesn't recognize their failure in regard to the parks.

Anonymous said...

The group Friends of Allentowns Parks would appear to be AWOL on this gross misuse of the Cedar Beach area.
This SNAFU is inexcusable.
What pray tell is going on when a miscalculation of this magnitude is tolerable?

michael molovinsky said...

@5:32. actually, Friends of the Parks was inadvertently involved in the snafu. both they and the artsfest had made reservations for an event on the same weekend. the artsfest reservation was made last year, but not confirmed until after the woof-dog event was confirmed. perhaps the conflict was missed by the recreation administration because they're new personnel. never the less, the park assets should always be the highest priority, not the recreation schedule. fountain park has a flood wall, (also a WPA project) perhaps that might be a candidate for such events. i intend to study all the options, and make a recommendation, not that they have listened in the past. of course if they had, Lehigh Parkway would still be assessable to the public, as designed.

Anonymous said...

The incompetence is outstanding.
Absolutely remarkable.

Anonymous said...

Last weekend's heavy rains also produced sewage smells in the Little Lehigh.

Anonymous said...

There really isn't a Friends of the Parks anymore or how could an arts festival be allowed in the Rose Garden? Possibly a lady sits in a beautiful stone built office looking nice but who protects the parks is questionable. That is other than Molovinsky.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Ms. Taylor embarrassed?

michael molovinsky said...

@6:56, that's an ongoing problem, which probably now has the clock reset backwards with EPA, since LCA took over allentown sewage

@6:59, the festival was on the rose garden side of ott street, but across the creek from the gardens, between the creek and honochick drive, from the picnic pavilions to ott street. they only needed about 30% of that space. the director of Friends of the Parks does a good job. she attended my WPA meetings and authorized my tours of the structures in Lehigh Parkway. she also successfully interacted with the Trexler Trust to receive 25K, being used to rebuilt WPA steps at Irving Park, and hopefully a few steps at Fountain Park. It's true that she does not have my priorities, but Pawlowski would have never appointed me to any position.

@7:16, i still have hopes for ms. taylor becoming more in tune with the parks, as opposed to just recreation. We'll see after the 5th floor at city hall changes out.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay Taylor was hired by Philadelphia Fran Doughty.
She has the faint stench of scandal wafting about her.
Smells like tainted meat.
It's time for her to move on.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:48, i only print your comment because of the top line. i suspect that she was hired by dougherty, as he did hire her two predecessors, both of whom had masters in recreation from penn state. i have sat down with lindsay twice already, and she seems very nice. i put aside these personal observations when i criticize the park department, or any other department for that matter. they know me, and don't expect to find personal compliments here. on the other hand, i doubt if you met her at all.

Anonymous said...

City Hall needs to be swept clean.

Anonymous said...

Why not the Arts Park for a small Arts Fest?