Sep 10, 2015

Another Department of Parks and Recreation Failure

Ever since Pawlowski's first term, when the Park and the Recreation Departments were merged, our parks have been administered by those with a background in recreation, who have little regard for the parks in themselves. The consequence of this emphasis has been a disaster on the iconic park system. They are just seen as a venue to hold one event after another. Up to this year, not one dollar had been spend on the WPA structures, which anchor every park. Even the traditional recreational assets have been neglected, such as the swimming pools. In 2004, the Trexler Trust commissioned a masterplan for the park system. One of the main conclusions of that expensive report (over $100,000.00) was that Cedar Park was being overused. Unfortunately, we're on our third park director since Mr. Ed's arrival, and that report has been ignored.

This week and weekend the west side of Cedar Park is fenced off to accommodate the Allentown ArtsFest, the alternative kind. Among the alternatives are graffiti, which was left behind on park facilities after last year's event. The park really doesn't need another event. It should have been scheduled for Hamilton Street, which is a ghost town on weekends anyway. It's placement in the park is a failure of both the park department and planning at city hall. Hopefully, when Pawlowski is finally carted away, a new mayor with local roots, will insist on a park department policy more considerate of the traditional park system.

ADDENDUM: Friday Sept.11th. Although I felt that this event should not have been scheduled in the park, the organizers are now dealing with some misfortune. Yesterday's rain flooded the section of the park where they are set up. That may well be another consequence a new park director from out of town, and her staff not familiar with the park system. The area selected for the ArtsFest is the low ground, which always floods in heavy rain.

poster by Steven Leibensperger

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Someone installed new doggie do canisters at least in Lehigh Parkway a while back. For the last month they've been empty. Why bother park officials?

Anonymous said...

Michael,
The W.P.A. Project, that is the foundation of the largest inner city park system in the Nation, is one of the main reasons Allentown was chosen "All American City" twice years ago.
What a crying shame. It breaks my heart to see what is happening here. I still love Allentown, even with all it's "warts"! (human and otherwise)
"The Old Allentown Curmudgeon" (PJF)

Anonymous said...

Combining Parks with Recreation has been a colossal failure.

michael molovinsky said...

when the departments were separate, someone was protecting the parks. in some cities, without iconic park systems, perhaps it makes sense, but not in allentown. the emphasis now is on recreation and activities, with no regard for the park(s) itself. the irony is that pawlowski has created so many new top level positions at city hall, the taxpayer never achieved any savings anyway. the parkway being virtually inaccessible is testament to the failure of pawlowski's park policy.

Anonymous said...

I went to the Parkway last week for the first time in several months.
Apparently the lawns have been mowed continuously through this hot dry summer.
They are in terrible shape.
This much they should be able to get right.
But no.

Anonymous said...

A huge piece of masonary is being held in place by a 2x10 propped against a tree where the
wall and roadway has collapsed at the Parkway entrance.

It must be seen to be believed.

Anonymous said...

The parks are yesterday's news.
It's all about the young millennial's flocking back to Center City.

Jamie Kelton said...

This seems like something that should be held on the Arts Walk

Anonymous said...

With the 15th Street entrance officially temporarily closed, Lehigh Parkway is slated to host a series of fall fundraiser including almost a thousand participants. That's not including families and friends. Where are they going to park and who will be responsible should someone need emergency care?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I went to the Parkway last week for the first time in several months.
Apparently the lawns have been mowed continuously through this hot dry summer.
They are in terrible shape.
This much they should be able to get right.
But no.

September 10, 2015 at 12:04 PM

Thank you for writing about this. Actually the park officials must allow workers to drive heavy vehicles across the grass as now huge tire marks have destroyed a beautiful spot in the park near the Road Runners Clubhouse. Never before has this area been damaged as the larger grass portion near the Academy. Even though the bridle path is two feet away, someone drives across this once pretty spot. How could any park supervisor allow this?

Anonymous said...

The arts walk must remain a sterile environment for the upscale look.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Someone installed new doggie do canisters at least in Lehigh Parkway a while back. For the last month they've been empty. Why bother park officials?

September 10, 2015 at 7:31 AM

I think this person meant to say the canisters once held small glove-styled plastic bags to help encourage waste pick up. These bins have been empty a month and the waste baskets installed on the same poles are gone. With public works vehicles including garbage trucks now allowed to park in Lehigh Parkway even on the grass
some with liquids spilling onto the grass, it's little wonder a stonewall collapsed.

Anonymous said...

The very knowledgeable new Parks Director could have chosen a lot worse places to put an ArtsFest than in a known flood zone.
I mean you don't want there young ruffians in the Arts Park with their ArtsFest, do you?
Anyway....the very capable Parks Director could have picked a lot worse locations to place this event.
I can't think of any worse places at the moment, but after I have a couple of cups of coffee I'll get back to post again,
I'm sure I can think of worse places.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I can't think of a worse location.
So sue me.

Allen Howells said...

As a happy and proud actively participating vendor in artsfest this year, I can state with assurance that the organizers worked tirelessly to minimize any negative human impact on the park system. The park remained immaculately clean throughout the three day festival. There was tremendous respect by all involved including the spectators. Although the festival was hampered by some flooding conditions due to approximately 4 inches of rain that fell on Saturday, I believe the location for the festival on the more flood-prone area was chosen for the festival due to an oversight on the city's parts by double booking the park for two events on the same weekend. Ideally it should have been held where it was last year along the paved quarter to the south side of the Muhlenberg pond near the swimming pool on the east side of Ott street.
Kudos to all involved.
-Allen Howells
Rust Bucket Clothing

michael molovinsky said...

allen@11:27, i agree that it was a wonderful event and that the organizers worked tirelessly, and i do not blame them in any way for the damage to the park. the flooding and soft ground resulted in extensive rutting from the truck tires. as an advocate for the park, i cannot accept the double booking excuse, although i know it to be true. the parks were not designed as a venue for these events. even the muhlenberg/pool side should not be a fairgrounds, with one event after another, each weekend. such an event should be held downtown, which needs the boost, both people and activity wise.