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.
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.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
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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