Aug 10, 2009
Line In The Sand
It's hard to come out against a playground. A mother who speaks regularly at City Council keeps referring to when children with disabilities were kept locked up in institutions. The Mayor's wife recommended that mothers bring their children and signs to influence the media and City Council. There is absolutely no way Allentown has the expertise, supervision or capacity for maintenance to promote a playground as a destination for children with special needs. I had a short meeting with the Park Director last month, and that is exactly the plan. This destination playground would include a special restroom and a separate changing room. We can buy the equipment, and we can built it, but we could never fulfill the expectations of those whom we would be attracting. I do not believe The City of Allentown should build such a playground anywhere. Such a playground should be built by organizations which specialize with these issues; such as LifePath, Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit and the Good Shepherd. That said, I can support a playground at Cedar Beach, and of course it should be handicapped accessible. It should be no larger than 5,000 sq. ft., which can accommodate over 50 children at a time. Any larger playground would force Mayfair to expand across Ott Street just maintain its current size.
There should be an official declaration that Mayfair and the other special events will not be permitted to expand over Ott Street into the currently passive side of the park.
The jogging path at on the west side of Ott Street should not be paved or lighted.
Although the walkways should be completed in the flower gardens to allow for wheelchairs, no additional pavilion should be built in the Rose Garden.
Needless to say, the above guidelines represent only my opinion. Others feel because of the overuse of the park and the flood-plain reality, there should be no additional constructions what so ever. There is consensus, from an expanding group of citizens, that the current plans do not respect the history or tradition of our iconic park system.