Aug 4, 2009

Three Ring Circus

In the last few weeks much has been said about the Destination Playground. The opposition centers around the scope of the project. There is no debate about our children needing playgrounds, especially those with special needs. The question is where should they be, and how large. The most dire consequence of the Destination Playground is the effect it will have on the Rose Garden side of the park. The Rose Garden side, the west side, has for the most part remained passive, until now. The Cedar Creek Park Plan means to change that. The other components of the plan are a wedding pavilion in the Rose Garden, and the paving and lighting of the rose garden side jogging path . Although brides being photographed is a time honored tradition in the garden, actual weddings is a different story. The amount of cleanup, distraction from the real role of appreciating the flowers, and parking will stress that icon beyond it's limit. Why light and pave the walkway? Because when the playground and it's required parking are built on the east side of Ott Street, Mayfair and other venues will be expanded over into the Rose Garden side. Ironically, a master plan done in 2005 recommended less usage of cedar Creek park, not more. How presumptuous of a new mayor, and a newer park director, to think they have a mandate to re-design our time honored park system.

The park was never meant to be a three ring circus. The Park Director, Greg Weitzel, told City Council he envisions a park with activities for every age and interest, and if you can't find something, just walk a few more feet. The east side of Cedar Park already contains a variety of athletic and recreational venues. Historic picture postcards of Allentown largely show our magnificent park system. Let not this beauty become just a memory on a postcard.


Anonymous said...

Security on a lighted paved running track in a "hidden" area of a park such as the land below Cedar Crest College is bound to pose a difficult enforcement issue for our city's overworked and understaffed police force.
Because of the nature of the land behind the college, road access is limited
Todate Weitzel has failed to address this issue. Would think nearby residents might be concerned.

Anonymous said...

A paved Rose Garden pathway will invite skateboarders who will stop by enroute to and from the official skateboard park down the street.
It will happen.

michael molovinsky said...

i believe the skateboard park is on hold, it will be located on the east side of the lake. a paved surface makes jogging more difficult, the lights will encourage people into the park after dark, and of course all of this lies in a flood plain.

Anonymous said...

i read the master plan yesterday on the city's web site. I did not read it as though all of Cedar Creek activity is overuse, but that Mayfair and other large festivals like that are. Maybe a better use of your time would be to encourage the city to find a better location for festivals like Mayfair and SportsFest, which seem to be the worst offenders in terms of "overuse" of the park.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 7:37, i'm concerned with the overbuild of the park. these permanent constructions will require intensive maintenance in our tight economy and encourage further overuse.

Anonymous said...

If the Rose Garden was a newly constructed site, perhaps paved pathways might have been in order, but for a century-old vintage garden, grassy walkways are appropriate and in keeping with the nature of the original garden's design. Weitzel, it seems, wants to destroy this antique garden. Why?

Anonymous said...

Just ask Runner's World experts. Paved concrete running paths cause knee and hip damage. We didn't hear that skateboard park is on hold. News. Are you sure?

Anonymous said...

" Maybe a better use of your time would be to encourage the city to find a better location for festivals like Mayfair and SportsFest, which seem to be the worst offenders in terms of "overuse" of the park."

This writer makes some good sense but where in the city with adequate parking for both visitors and vendors could someone put these two huge festivals? Lehigh Parkway does not work if that is a consideration. It has extreme narrow road access, some open spaces but nothing adequate for this type of 20,000 visitor parking nor set-ups.

Anonymous said...

City hall can spin anyway they want but it is overbuilding. Plain and simple. Where there is grass now will be concrete and structures. Why does city hall think residents are so stupid.

Anonymous said...

As an avid runner, paving does not make running more difficult. Lose gravel is much more challenging (good or bad) and dangerous.

Weddings have been taking place in the Rose Garden forever. Sometimes two or three in a row.

Previously brides lacked the ability to reserve a time slot. If anything this will reduce the impact on the gardens by allowing people to show up at their dedicated time rather than wait around.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 8:12, the rose garden should have had protected historical landmark status, it didn't. i can understand some garden paving for wheelchair accessibility.

anon 8:17, there is no motivation to move mayfair, quite the contrary. although the park director denies it, all indications, such as lighting and paving the walking/jogging path, indicate a desire to expand active recreation into the former passive side.

i think lisa pawlowski's letter, and the fact that "Friends of the Parks" works of the park office, indicates the degree of public spin and machinations used to promote this plan.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:47 -

Running on paved surfaces causes injuries. Fine gravel (or cinder) is far better than pavement. I would note that until the recent development of synthetic surfaces, most running tracks around the country were cinder.

Rose Garden weddings are a rarity. Brides come there for photos, not for the ceremony. The sharing of photo spots by bridal parties has been done successfully - without government involvement (and fees) - for over 80 years.

You would do better by arguing that the sky is green and the grass is blue than by trying to justify this plan.

Anonymous said...

To 8:47
Are you sure you don't mean post wedding photos? We also are avid Rose Garden visitors and rarely have we seen an actual "wedding," rather grouped posed photos.
If a small wedding now and then has taken place as you claim, it must have been done in a suitable and respectful fashion to pay homage to the site, not a 100 guest bonanza.
Also, there is nothing wrong but quite the contrary to two brides and their parties enjoying conversation while waiting for a gazebo. Actually, it is charming.
So what are you going to do if a bride is late? Kick her group out at 3:15 so the next party can take place? Weddings by nature can be delayed.
We will not argue the concrete hip knee issue. If you want to run on concrete, go ahead.
However, we too are avid runners and have many orthopedic doc friends who repeatedly warn us against concrete surface runs.

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Molovinsky,
You are correct. The Rose Garden should have received historic preservation status.
As for Mayfair, we also agree that once the Cedar College area as well as the Rose Garden are electrified, there is no way those sites will not be incorporated into Mayfair and Sportsfest.
At last week's special council meeting, neighbors spoke of the impossible parking situation on weekends taking place right now when pavilions are utilized by commercial and large group activities.

LVCI said...

Misc Items (for what they'res worth)

July 11, 2007
In November (2006), vandals torched the equipment at Roosevelt Park's playground, taking away a play area for neighboring children... Vandals set a fire that destroyed the facility at South Fillmore and Saucon streets last November... The city is installing $36,000 worth of new equipment that will be almost identical to what was found at the playground last fall... Greg Weitzel says the city has applied for a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources to make further improvements at the playground.

March 11, 2008
US Soccer Foundation grant request by Greg Weitzel (city parks & rec. dept) was denied. We will reapply in July 2008 for funds to create soccer courts in the city.

Sept 16, 2008
Working on grant application with Greg Weitzel (Dir. City Parks & Rec. Dept) for $ from US Soccer Foundation for field development/soccer courts. Working with City Parks & Rec to convert Fountain Park baseball fields into soccer fields. Possible indoor soccer program at Cumberland Gardens this winter.

Saturday, June 6, 2009
VI. NPDES Individual Permit Applications for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities
Lehigh County Conservation District: Lehigh Agriculture Center, Suite 102, 4184 Dorney Park Road, Allentown, PA
City of Allentown
Attn: Greg Weitzel
3000 Parkway Boulevard
Allentown, PA 18104
Receiving Water/Use: Cedar Creek

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:21 and 10:24, of course you are correct about the running surface and the wedding vs. photo situation. was the comment by 8:47 sincere, or rather from a sycophant or apologist of the administration? i question these type comments. there wasn't much real democracy involved from the city government with these plans, how much obligation do i have as a private blogger to present their point of view? in the future if those submitting such comments find them not published here, perhaps try submitting them to Allentown Good News or Friends of the Parks.

monkey momma said...

I've been to one wedding recently at the rose garden. It was a Saturday evening, and the 50+ guests simply stood while the couple recited their quick vows. The friends and family of the bride and groom indicated that they'd all been to many weddings at the garden. None of them seemed to mind the current condition of the garden, and the reason they used the rose garden was tradition and cost. (They liked having their wedding pictures have pretty much the same background setting as their family members in days past had.) Of course, the cost has always been free.

I just don't see why we had to fix what wasn't broken.

ironpigpen said...

I want a hockey rink.

My brother wants a rugby pitch.

Who else wants what?

Step right up.



Go Man Go

Bernie O'Hare said...

"As an avid runner, paving does not make running more difficult. Lose gravel is much more challenging (good or bad) and dangerous."

You may be an avid runner, but won't be doing it for long. The WORST surface for running is concrete. It is very hard on the joints. Next to that is macadam, which is also too hard.

Other than the padded tracks, the best running surfaces are grass, dirt paths and gravel.

In my day, I ran 8 full marathons in various states. Anybody who reads Runners World will tell you what I just told you. You'll find the same answer if you visit the two very good LV running stores - Aardvark & Finish Line - and ask the people who work there.

The harder the surface, the more unforgiving it is on the joints.

Anonymous said...

Council Meetings.
You're making going to council meetings the place to be. Count me in tomorrow night. Once again.

Anonymous said...

If Wetizel gets his way, gone will be a traditional 19th century real wood and white paint structure, to be replaced with vinyl. The newer and much much better Rose Garden Gazebo will be all synthetic.

ironpigpen said...

Wonderful sentiment, Monkey Mama


Cedar Beach was NEVER broken until some out-of-towners showed up looking to build some resumes, or so it could appear...

Anonymous said...

It's always nice to hear from Bernie, even if he's on a run wearing a scarf.