Dec 23, 2016

ALLENTOWN SPEAK OUT

                                    REPRINTED FROM 2012

In the best use, molovinsky on allentown chronicles my efforts in the community, in addition to being an alternative news source for local issues. Last week a small victory resulted from such efforts. Our local dignitaries broke ground for a new garage at Lanta. Several years ago, when the garage plans were first announced, it was to be built on the parking lot of Bicentennial Park. Allentown needed money, and Lanta had a grant to build a new garage. Lanta claimed that the ball park property was the only feasible location, and the City claimed that Bicentennial Park had outlived it's usefulness.
Bicentennial Park is virtually the history of baseball in Allentown. First opened in 1939 as Fairview Field, it was home to the minor league team of the Boston Braves; The Allentown Dukes played there through 1948, when Breadon Field was built in Whitehall, site now of the Lehigh Valley Mall. Over the years thousands of Allentown kids had the yearly thrill of playing "Under The Lights". In addition to hosting the Allentown Ambassadors, it currently serves women's fast pitch softball. In addition to the outrage in our park system, I will be adding the ballfield as a topic in my upcoming SPEAK OUT ALLENTOWN MEETING. from Lanta Mugs City, May 14,2009  
I conducted a meeting at a small local church, which attracted a couple members of City Council and the Hunsicker Family, who led the drive to build the park, decades ago. City Council went on to pass a resolution recommending that the park not be sold, and Lanta did eventually figure out an alternative space for the garage. Needless to say, I wasn't one of the dignitaries invited to the ground breaking, nor were my efforts even mentioned in the newspaper article, but a small victory, never the less.

Baseball Memoirs, June 3, 2009

above reprinted from 2012
UPDATE DECEMBER 2016: The meetings mentioned above, in 2008 and 2009, I conducted at Faith Baptist Church on N.12th St.  Among the topics were parking meter increases, Lanta,  Bicentennial Park, and Fairview Cemetery.  They provided an informal public venue for citizens and council to interact.  Years later, I would conduct more meetings at the library on preserving the WPA structures.  Unfortunately,  Allentown and South Whitehall have demonstrated little regard for our historic structures.  The mission continues.

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2 comments:

Dave said...

This goes back a century when Lehigh Valley Transit opened up the Fairview Streetcar Barn. It's been that way since then after the trolley cars rode the rails to oblivion and the GM busses took over. Fairview field was there before 1939 as a open space for the neighborhood as well.

What is needed here is a better solution for LANTA instead of it gobbling up Fairview Field. For example, who owns all the industrial land where Mack used to be east of Lehigh behind Parkway Shopping Center? Does the city own it ? There is a lot of vacant land there after they tore down those buildings years ago. Plenty of space for a very substantial and modern servicing center for LANTA buses. Then the old Fairview facility can be turned into something more suitable for a residential neighborhood.

JoshLCowen said...

Sadly Bicen Park is hardly used anymore. It is mostly rented by a 'for-profit' (perish the thought) baseball league. I know of no women's softball, which is played at Patriots Park across the street. The halcyon days of men's fast-pitch are gone, and even church league softball has dwindled. Today we are playing MLB on streaming devices....the end of America as we know it.