Jan 20, 2017
Allentown's Park Problem
Under Pawlowski, the park and recreation departments were combined, and all three of the consecutive park directors had the same background in recreation, and were hired by the same person, Fran Dougherty.
The WPA double stairwell in Lehigh Parkway, shown above, is in dire straights. The landings are falling apart, allowing water to seep into foundation of the steps. The park department always has the same answer now for years. Yes, we're budgeting for it next year. Yes, it's on our short list. etc. etc. Meanwhile, last summer a large outdoor gymnasium was installed at Jordan Park. Although it would be the envy of any federal prison, it is nothing they could ever afford. However, our recreation obsessed park director found the funds.
I have twice publicly offered city council my time to act as a liaison on park matters. They approve the park budgets, and have the leverage to modify park priorities. Meanwhile, our iconic system, once nationally recognized as among the best, declines. Pawlowski's director endorses more parks, and more expensive catalog equipment, while the important existing features crumble.