Jul 12, 2016

The Depreciation Of Our Parks

John Mikowychok, the new park director, suggested that after the dam is demolished an interpretative sign could be placed there, with a photograph of the former dam. John, like his predecessor Greg Weitzel, likes interpretative signs. John and Greg have the same background, they both have graduate degrees in recreation from Penn State. Both were hired by our city manager from Philadelphia, and neither have a special feeling for the Allentown park system. Although there will be no measurable improvement to water quality, Lehigh Parkway will be depreciated in both beauty and ambience. While picture postcards used to show the beauty of the parks, now interpretative signs will show what we neglected and demolished.


reprinted from September 2, 2013

ADDENDUM: Since I wrote the above post almost three years ago, we have yet another new park director, with the exact same background.  The dam was demolished,  the WPA wall collapsed, and has just been rebuilt.  The sewage still overflows from the manhole covers along the creek,  but all the parks have new entrance signs.


Ray Nemeth Sr said...

What if we could put an interpretive sign at the desk of most of these bureaucrats, stating what they used to do. Lots of money could be saved to maintain the parks.

Jamie Kelton said...

My dad used to take us from the Brass Rail on Leigh Street to the 24th street entrance of the parkway, by Bogarts Bridge, and drive us through the parkway. We'd come out on the other end and head home going north over the 15th street bridge by the YWCA. It was a nice way home going though the park.

The bridge in the parkway you used to be able to drive over. Now you can't. Whomever made the decision to replace it with a pedestrian only bridge was a stupid idea, probably just as bad as taking the dam out.

Another thing was taking the cars out of Trexler Park. I used to be able to fly a kite there, we'd drive on that road to one of the large grassy fields where I could run and fly it. Now you can only go to the duck pond by car.

Jamie Kelton said...

Mr. Molovinsky. Why did they take the dam out of the parkway by the bridge? It wasn't bothering anyone, and I don't think that it stopped any trout from breeding.

Wasn't it put in when they built the parkway back in the 1930s as part of the scenic construction?

Yeah, but now they can put a sign up saying "here was the dam we took out" and show a photo of it. The dam could still be there and they wouldn't have to spend the money on the sign.

michael molovinsky said...

jamie@11:42, it was demolished by the Wildlands Conservancy, worst yet, its ruble was piled around the stone piers of the Robin Hood Bridge, ruining that visual. the dam was built as a companion piece with the bridge in 1941, the last WPA constructions in the park system. the new park director at the time, and at least two city council members, gave permission for its destruction before they ever even saw it. i managed to postpone the demolition for two weeks, but failed in the end. i'm currently fighting the same battle to save the iconic wehr's dam in south whitehall.

george schaller said...

I have put this to print before, first of all allentown is to writ its new flood plan and present to fed not in a famous powerpoint presentaion, than there are the digital media migits developmentalistZ designs designing on park like setting sites for homes?!

Steven Ramos said...

The parks are becoming less family friendly. If you try and picnic you'll have some park stasi come and tell you you can't. The parks need to be accessible to all of us, not just for dog walkers, runners, bikers, or frisbee throwers. The parks belong to all of us.

Charlie Sch said...

I just noticed that every single tree has been cut down along the south side of Alton/Percy Ruhe Park, alongside I78. Maybe it happened a couple years ago, and I didn't notice. The removal of these trees started 10 years ago. There used to be a great canopy of trees over the south end of the park, which was nice for a break from the sun for athletes and spectators. The trees also helped to buffer out I78 so you didn't feel that the highway was right next to the playing fields.