Mar 22, 2010
A Runaway Train
Back in 2007, I would have coffee early in the morning, around 6:30, at a coffee shop at 7th and Hamilton. The shop is now closed, so is the building; that's another story which was told on this blog two years ago. Anyway, during this time I met Fran Dougherty, who would also frequent the shop. Fran was then the city manager, imported by Pawlowski from Philadelphia. Fran in turn interviewed Greg Weiztel, from Lewistown, for the Park Department job. Dougherty was impressed with a giant playground Weitzel had built, Weitzel's background is in recreation. But lets go back even further, back to Afflerbach. It appears Roy had dipped into Trexler Trust funding for routine maintenance and the Trust went to court to stop the misuse of their funds. They then commissioned a Philadelphia landscape firm to recommend the sort of projects which would be appropriate with the General's money. A report called the master plan would be produced which suggested some park projects for Allentown's future. WHO COULD HAVE IMAGINED THAT AFFLERBACH'S MANY MISTAKES , WOULD JUSTIFY PAWLOWSKI HIRING A CITY MANAGER (DOUGHERTY), WHO WOULD HIRE WEITZEL, WHO WOULD THINK EVERYTHING IN THAT REPORT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE BUILT WITHIN 3 YEARS.
All these changes have been rough on the parks, especially Cedar Park. Although the "improvements" are not complete from the Cedar Park Plan, Weitzel is now working on the Trail Network Plan. Poor Cedar Park has so many paths being dug it looks like Venice when it rains. This picture of the flooded path ditch was taken by Andrew Kleiner, who has been doing an excellent job of documenting our park system. He has concluded that the paths are adversely affecting the streams, which are in desperate need of remedial attention, not more adjoining paths.
On April 7, City Council is to vote on the new Trail Network Plan. I request that Council members visit Cedar Park before the vote and see first hand how all the construction is overtaxing the park. Perhaps it's time to slow down the runaway train and put off approving any more plans. The parks themselves are in peril. One wouldn't expect the danger to come from the Park Department, but never the less, City Council must now save the pride and joys of Allentown from any more improvement.