Jul 22, 2016
Rumble In The Suburban Jungle
My presentation to the South Whitehall Commissioners Wednesday Evening:
I'm here tonight to protest for the residents of South Whitehall Township. You're determined to allow the Wildlands Conservancy to destroy the heart and soul of our most important park. You're determined to allow them to degrade the beauty and history of the park for their own agenda.
The state determined in their last regularly scheduled inspection that the dam was "overall in good condition." According to the Wildlands engineer, less than two years later, the dam needed to be virtually rebuilt, but they kindly offered to save you the money, and demolish the dam at their expense.
When I was here with the many other defenders of Wehr's Dam, i realized that your vote then to save the dam was insincere. If you were sincere, you would have included the dam into the Historic Overlay Zone. You would have hired a contractor to make the few repairs actually required by the state. You would not have hired another engineer, to justify your upcoming referendum.
Your legacy is your commitment and respect for the residents of South Whitehall, not some organization like the Wildlands, with paid directors and staff. You know that over the decades thousands and thousands of people have visited the dam, and that the dam made the park a destination.
The referendum is disingenuous. You know that the dam could be repaired for a fraction of the cost contrived by your estimate. You also know that the voters are not inclined to vote themselves a tax hike. You're fullfilling the agenda of the Wildlands Conservancy, forsaking your own constituents, and one of the most beautiful spots in the township. It's really a disgrace.
According to The Morning Call, the commissioners were offended by my comments. I had expressed the same sentiments previously on this blog, and even in a letter to the editor. I thought the adult thing to do was say it to their face. In a perfect world the voters would choose to keep the dam. Would the commissioners then repair it for the real cost of $25,000, or would they spend the $600,000, to spite the voters? I knew that the commissioners were offended. They're not used to being called out when they play games. It's a shame that the residents of South Whitehall and beyond are going to lose a destination, so that the Wildlands can make 15% administrative fees, demolishing another beautiful place.
Report by WFMZ
photo by K Mary Hess