May 16, 2016

Allentown Park System's Misguided Priorities

The park department purchased and installed fifteen pieces of outside exercise equipment in Jordan Park.  Beyond being a novelty in a park with a swimming pool, basketball courts and baseball fields,  it symbolizes what's wrong with the park department.  Three things are for sure about this equipment; It is a fad from a catalog, it was expensive, and it won't last very long. Meanwhile, throughout the park system, things unique to Allentown  that could last indefinitely, are being allowed to crumble.

Friends of the Allentown Parks is planning events to celebrate Bogert Bridge's 175th birthday. They will also conduct fund raising to paint and repair  that neglected symbol of Allentown.  The Pawlowski administration and it's park department haven't spend $1.75 on the bridge since his first term, in 2006. The broken WPA wall shown here is in Cedar Park, and has been broken for years. Although the administration is bragging about repairing the wall in Lehigh Parkway, it's only because it is a retaining wall, and must be repaired before the road can be reopened.

I understand that the decline of our traditional park system bothers me more than most.  Furthermore, there may well be many residents, especially newer ones,  who have no special affinity toward the traditional park features.  However, although I may be the lone voice on this topic, I will continue advocating for these discarded structures; They are irreplaceable.


Rich Fegley said...

Why don't the employees speak up? They see what their "boss" has done and not done. All for fear of losing their job?

Why do the Parks Department employees not say something about the state of the parks?

I hope they spoke to the FBI at this point.

michael molovinsky said...

rich@7:10, i am certain that no city worker, in any department, went to the FBI under their own volition. furthermore, i doubt the the FBI investigation encompasses anything more than we already read in the paper. IMO, the issues i write about here are misguided priorities, but not criminal.

Jamie Kelton said...

Mr Molovinsky

What you are wring about is part of the general deterioration of Allentown over the past several decades. The wealth of the city is no longer what it used to be; this goes for the overall condition of the homes, the streets, the people and the park system is not immune.

The city government has problems it didn't have in decades past along with the School District which requires funding from a pot of money which, in real terms, is smaller than it was as well and Allentown has a huge poverty problem that didn't exist when it was an All-America city. The parks don't get the attention that they used to, and also, Mayor Pawlowski I believe doesn't see the value in them because I really don't believe his heart is in Allentown. I don't think it ever was. Unlike all the other Mayors who were born and grew up in the area. To him, they're just another expense and the parks department gets less money as it goes to in his mind, other costs. Plus it doesn't help build his resume for his future, which went up in smoke thanks to the FBI.

Sorry, just rambling a little but I get sad knowing my hometown isn't what it used to be any longer.

Where is the Trexler Trust in all this? That's what it was set up for, to maintain our park system.

michael molovinsky said...

jamie@9:27, Where is the Trexler Trust in all this? That's what it was set up for, to maintain our park system.

unfortunately, the trust funds mostly go for capital improvements, which are generally considered new features. and you're generally correct that the park department hasn't shown much interest in the traditional features. furthermore, the park and recreation departments were merged in pawlowski's first term, and all the directors, (three so far) have the same background in recreation. HOWEVER, on the brighter side, the park director has been receptive to some of my suggestions, such as patching the union terrace wall last fall. the trust did pay for the work on the fountain park steps last summer.

Monkey Momma said...

I took the kids to Cedar Beach last week - I think we saw some of this new equipment there, too. A couple of teenaged boys were sitting on the exercise equipment and smoking. I kid you not.

Speaking of Cedar Beach, what is the situation on the pool? My son loves construction sites, so we went to look at the mess they made of the pool. Is it really just in limbo?

Thanks for all you do!

michael molovinsky said...

momma@10:14, there has been progress on the pool. the island pier has been formed out. the city is now calling for an opening in july, we will see. yesterday, i encountered two fisherman, in full gear, fishing in the lily ponds at the rose garden. unfortunately, i didn't have my camera

LVCI said...

To my way of thinking adding additional features to parks is like building an addition to one's house while the front porch is collapsing.

pathfinder said...

The July opening of Cedar Beach pool was the original plan. I doubt that is going to happen unless the contractor puts in OT. They lost at least a month of work due to not having the required DEP permits.

Scott Armstrong said...


You need to form a citizens advisory board for Allentown's parks.This would be a non partisan group of people such as yourself who share an interest and concern for the park system. This advisory group could be supported by a citizens advisory membership. You could replicate the model of the environmental organizations and hold press conferences, issue press releases, and yes, endorse candidates.

ninoshinkicker said...

Remember when Allentown's parks were universally considered the crown jewel of the region? Where the heck is the Trexler Trust? Aren't they supposed to be the guardians of the park system? After some 150 years it appears some only care about their names on a letterhead.