Oct 5, 2015

Mr. Pawlowski, Build Up This Wall

From a distance, the double stairwell off of St. Elmo Street, down into Union Terrace, looks pretty good. As you get closer, the disrepair becomes more apparent. The neglect and demise of this icon is nothing new, I have been writing about it for years. Union Terrace was the last major park developed by the WPA, and without a doubt, the most ambitious. The amphitheater and raised stage is separated by the Cedar Creek, an incredible symphony of landscape design. The park is now called Joseph Daddona Terrace, but I always use the original names, they have more meaning and history. The top of the main wall of the staircase is missing numerous cap stones. As this winter weather begins, water will seep down into the middle of the wall and freeze. This freezing and expansion cycle can destroy the irreplaceable wall in short order. Let us hope that a city with a $billion dollars of new development can find a few dollars to seal the top of this wall.

reprinted from November of 2014

ADDENDUM: Although, I have been writing about the need for maintenance at Union Terrace for years, the above post appeared last November, under the title, Emergency At Union Terrace. Unfortunately, since then not only has nothing been done, but the condition of the structure has significantly deteriorated. The flagstone on the landings has become dislodged. Pieces of the flagstone and stones from the wall, are being strewn about in the park. I have serious doubts if the wall can survive another winter, as water seeps down from the open top,  freezes and expands during the cold weather. If this irreplaceable structure is to be saved, the city must act now.

ADDENDUM:Earlier this morning I first titled this post, Ms. Taylor, Build Up This Wall. Lindsay Taylor is the current park director. I have decided instead to address the post to Mayor Pawlowski. Mr. Pawlowski has cut many ribbons opening businesses that have come and gone. Let up hope that he will turn his attention to a imperiled structure, that has graced Allentown since 1939. Let us hope that there was a lesson learned from the collapse of the WPA wall in Lehigh Parkway.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Union Terrace is not part of the NIZ. There is no money to be made by fixing it.

I miss the winter ice skating there as well

Anonymous said...

That amphitheater is a unique, once-attractive, underutilized space. A place made for Arts Academy and other free performances. Simply amazing, even this broken Allentown administration can't find a way to maintain it. In the whole scheme of municipal expenditures, this one seems necessary.

Or, at least, fill it up with weeds and sloppily mowed areas and tell the community that's essential for the flora and fauna, making our world a far better place. Sheesh!


Fred Windish

Anonymous said...

To be clear---we are talking about criminal negligence.

Anonymous said...

This is an intresting concept 5:20 am¿!($ MM has done many many posts about the pprocess of these unkept monuments buillt by engineers and craftsman that are irreplacible at any monitary amount¿!($

There is a hidden developmental agenda behind the circus curtin occupied by OZ¿!($ Developable land assets very similar to the MMO water war selloff for capitol funds financed to public property for private entities¿!($
Hence winners and losers in the pay to play scheem of things¿!($

redd
patent pending

Anonymous said...

Repairing and maintaining the historic WPA structures is absolutely essential for our parks.
....well managed riparian zones are an excellent choice as well.

michael molovinsky said...

@12:08, they are completely apples and oranges. the buffers must be completely mowed once a year, to control the invasive species. to control them on an ongoing basis would be far too labor and money intensive.

the wpa structures once gone, will never be again. they don't grow like the weeds and saplings you call a riparian buffer. no further reply on riparian buffers will be published. linking them, in any way, marginalizes a unique gift that was bestowed upon allentown 85 years ago, and which the city has a responsibility to maintain.

Dreaming of Justice said...

When some child or adult is permanently injured due to this negligence, the city will do something: knock it down. I have never seen a city run like this one is.

Anonymous said...

Recently you praised Ms. Taylor for her willingness to listen to your concerns. Maybe this citizen entry will encourage her to do something! It's impossible to imagine any park official allowing this beautiful stone wall to be destroyed like a few park directors did with Lehigh Parkway's. Speaking of the Parkway, when an event ends these days even though the signs clearly indicate "in" only, cars travel both ways entering and exiting at the same time. No one pays attention to those signs. Body Shops alert!

Anonymous said...

The Union Terrace amphitheater needs repair and right soon, the amphitheater is used for movies, Shakespeare in the park, amongst others things. It's a wonderful location, but anyone coming or leaving the park, using the steps, not only the entrance, but the steps between the risers in the rows, risks falling. Breaking a leg, or an arm, or suffering a concussion , could leave the city open to a negligence lawsuit, because the city has been aware of this problem for quite some time. Yet, still nothing has been done to make the situation safer.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

Why not have some volunteers meet on a Saturday and lay some mortar down as a stop gap measure. Mortar is cheap! Let them arrest us for doing the work of saving these historic structures.

Scott Armstrong

michael molovinsky said...

scott@6:44, i had a call today from someone else volunteering to also join in such an effort. unless the city assumes it's responsibility to do at least that much in the near future, i will take you up on your offer.

Anonymous said...

michael molovinsky said...
scott@6:44, i had a call today from someone else volunteering to also join in such an effort. unless the city assumes it's responsibility to do at least that much in the near future, i will take you up on your offer.

October 6, 2015 at 7:00 PM

I'll join too. Just post here time and place.