Oct 13, 2009
Allentown's Park Plans
Allentown's park plans can best be described as schizophrenic. What made our parks so iconic was the visual contrasts between the woods, open spaces and the water. We are now getting the worse of everything. The streams will be hidden by plants, called riparian buffers. The open spaces will be either planted with tree's or occupied by some recreational venue. Although the beauty of the park system had more less survived for 80 years, it's glory days, like Allentown itself, will soon be but a memory.
In the 1950's my father's uncle worked for the park department. He would drive a tractor with a large gang mower behind, and cut large portions of Lehigh Parkway in a single day. Today, witness Cedar Beach area, all the open spaces have been planted with trees. Park workers must toil with riding mowers in and out and around each tree. The remaining open area will soon be occupied with the Destination Playground.
The open area between the creek and Honochick Drive on the west side of Ott Street will be occupied by three additional paved paths. Access and view of the water will be cut off by bushes.
The environmentalists are appeased by the riparian buffer and being allowed to plant more and more trees; they remain silent about all the paving. The recreationalists are appeased by paved paths and remain silent about losing the park's viewshed. The viewshed is what we see and what made our park system nationally known. The parks cannot be everything to everybody. Those who may have protected the parks in the past have become politicized. I find our parks too precious not to speak up.