Jun 18, 2009

The General Gently Weeps

I, Harry C. Trexler declare this to be my last Will and Testament:
......into the Treasury of the City of Allentown, for the perpetual maintenance of said Park, (Trexler) as well as the Greenhouse thereon located. This bequest shall include all the plants and other contents of said Greenhouse (1929)

The City of Allentown was granted permission to demolish the Greenhouse by the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas in about 1995, obviously with the compliance of the Trexler Trust at that time.

Although the will provides to improve and maintain the parks, nothing remotely refers to recreation. We know that if the General had his druthers, he would prefer a Greenhouse over a destination playground.


LVCI said...

FYI: A link to his entire will-- I, Harry C. Trexler, of the City of Allentown, County of
Lehigh and State of Pennsylvania, do make, publish and declare this to be my last Will and Testament

monkey momma said...

I wonder if the abuse of General Trexler's trust will discourage others from leaving their legacy to similar trusts. One simply cannot trust future generations to honor the spirit (or even letter) of a will when politics is mixed into the equation.

Anonymous said...

Monkey Momma: I don't really see how you or anyone else could speak to General Trexler's spirit when it comes to recreation - he lived in a time when the kinds of recreation that exist now largely did not exist, except in private settings. That doesn't mean that he wouldn't want to see the parks being used and enjoyed by many people of all ages and backgrounds.

My reading of that will is that he was very articulate in restricting some of his estate, and he left other aspects of his estate more open for future changes. Obviously the Greenhouse in Trexler Park should never have been removed, although to be honest I'm not old enough to remember those days very clearly.

However, as to the parks separate from Trexler Park, it seems as though his will is particularly open ended, I don't see that you would have much ground for challenging park plans on the basis of the Trexler document. I mean, obviously there are readers of this blog who disagree with that, so you could go ahead and do it anyway, but I don't think a judge would find any legal basis for granting an injunction against the Cedar Creek Parkway plan.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:50, the reason the pool at cedar park is called cedar beach is because 80 years ago, before the pool, there was a swimming hole there surrounded by sand. this new park plan has more changes in it than all the previous changes combined since the general's death. no administration and no trexler trust ever proposed or endorsed such sweeping changes before. also, please remember that many of these previous trust members were associates of trexler himself, and understood his values.

Anonymous said...

TO: anon 8:50

It is people like this, who are the problem. There's no set rules, ideas, directions... everything is relative. The problem with people like anon 8:50 and others like him, is that their standards are so low and impoverished in terms of knowing what the quality of Allentown life was like 40-50 years ago... not having any idea what made Allentown and its parks such a great place to live and grow up in... that they really are part of the problem, and not the solution. This person has low standards. The park system, as conceived by Gen. Trexler, was a PASSIVE park system.
Don Marushak was the first incompetent director of parks who began this downward trend to clutter, overuse, debase, and utterly despoil the Park system which we have today. Malcolm Gross, with all his family associations with the tradition and history in the city, and the Allentown parks, should know better. He is an enabler of this desecration.


monkey momma said...

Anon 8:50...
I understand your point, and I have no qualm with folks of all "ages and backgrounds" finding pleasure in the existing parks. I don't claim to be psychic, either, so I will grant you that I do not know the inner workings of Trexler's mind.

Trexler's trust makes it clear his fortune is for , "improvements, extension and maintenance of all of its Parks..." Yes, there is ambiguity in this will. But I would take issue with the "improvement" and "maintenance" aspect, particularly as it relates to the plastic playground structure. I would argue that the playground will be a detriment, not an improvement, to the park. And, maintenance of existing park features is debatable, at best - there are many parts of the park that require additional maintenance right now, yet we're spending resources on a whole new project.

I understand the appeal of a playground. But, a playground is much different than a natural, passive park. It is very hard for me to believe that General Trexler would be on board with this plan, for the simple fact that it replaces, rather than enhances, the natural beauty of the park. Allentown SHOULD be evaluating the pros and cons of playgrounds, but it shouldn't be on the General's dime, and $2 mill. is not reasonable in these recessionary times.

Anonymous said...

Well I think to have a huge "passive" park system is offensive and elitist snobbery that could only be conceived by people who have large backyards for their children to play in.

monkey momma said...

So General Trexler was an elitist snob?? I'm sure he had a big backyard (or 2 or 3) for his kids to play in and around.

There are 20 playgrounds in Allentown. It's not like there aren't any playgrounds to visit. Nobody's anti-playground.

This isn't about snobbery. And giving a "handout" to the families who need a place for their kids to play is ridiculous in these financial times. I am sorry, but this is simply not the right time, economically speaking, to dump $2 million into a playground that will only suck more resources from this very poor town. Especially since A-town already has 20 playgrounds to enjoy.

Nope, it's not snobbery. It's just common sense.

Anonymous said...

The "new" park will be an eye sore in a few short years.

We, of course, will not have an exit plan i.e. what happens when all the purported people come to use the park do not show and it becomes another financial drain on the city.

Someday we have to stop the financial bleed on Allentown. This is just another wound in the balance sheet.

And the "high tech" equipment! It will probably be out of date prior to installation. This is called short sightedness.

Is it any wonder. Who is advising the trustees of the Trexler Trust? I wonder.

It is not like they are out walking around the streets of Allentown finding out what life is like in this city for themselves.

Would not surprise me to see Cedar Beach become the next home of the Great Allentown Fair and the Fairgrounds become an inner city housing project replete with vinyl Victorian trim, crime cameras and iodine street lights.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, even institutions of higher learning have been known to do away with family heirlooms and specifically allocated fund donations. Families returning years later are stunned to see their once-honored possessions become permanently boxed storage.

Anonymous said...

"It is not like they are out walking around the streets of Allentown finding out what life is like in this city for themselves."

An idea that all of the A-town government officials and leadership should heed....