May 22, 2010

Parkway Tears

Director Harms Lehigh Parkway
February 04, 1993|The Morning Call
To the Editor:

How much longer must park devotees put up with Allentown Park Director Donald Marushak's misuse of evergreen trees, no trespass signs, and wrecking tools to destroy cherished elements of the people's parks?

First Marushak closed off a much-used slope by planting a dense cluster of 60 evergreen trees across its width.

Next, four "No trespass" signs were posted to prohibit access to 30 acres of deciduous woodland with its magnificent understory of many species of plant life. Trespass, a legal term, is defined in a children's encyclopedia as intrusion on private land. The term has no application for restricting passage on public land.

The WPA in the 1930s created a three-acre island by diverting water from the Little Lehigh Creek. The island had remained a source of joy for birders, naturalists, and nondescript strollers. No one foresaw Marushak arriving on the scene with wrecking tools to rip up the bridge, terminating public access to the island. Three masonry piers remain in place. Also remaining are 12 discarded auto tires gathering silt in the small stream.


17 years later......
Most people have long ago forgotten that there was a bridge to the island, although the stone piers still remain, obscured by overgrowth. The curved wall and landing of the Boat Landing, shown in the lower right of the photograph, are buried. Last fall, with help from others who appreciate our treasured parks, I had the privilege to
rescue the steps which lead to the landing.


LVCI said...

Don't forget the water fountain at the entrance to the bridge.

michael molovinsky said...

water fountains of the same vintage, by the robin hood bridge, beyond the step structure on the bridle path, and at cedar park have also been disconnected. as you may recall, there was no lever and they ran continuously, however, the amount of water was still marginal.

Anonymous said...

Entirely too much natural charm and beauty in that photograph, there.

Exactly where is the Bulldozer and what is it's lame excuse.

Let's see some paving, er, ah, Progress, here!

Think of the future generations --- Do it for the children.

Proud Supporter,

Anonymous said...

I think it would be a good idea to emulate that 'distinguished' Morning Call gadfly, Bill White, and begin an Allentown Hall of Fame with special emphasis on those people who deserve meritorious service awards for their contributions to preserving the heritage and beauty of the Allentown Parks system. This should be with a special reference noting the manner in which these Hall of Famers have contributed to keeping the parks in the pristine condition that General Trexler had wanted, ie.. being faithful to the General's vision of what the Allentown Parks should be.

Maraushak, the Head of the Trexler Trust, and a representative of the L.V. Wheelmen should be the first inductees.


Anonymous said...

It was this writer's pleasure and honor to call Burt a friend.

Anonymous said...

Actually, we know for a fact
Burt sent a representative to meet with the Wildlands Conservancy to discuss this very planting. This person was ordered out of the room by one of the directors while the others sat silent.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying Marusak now has a seat on the trust? This is unbelievable.

Anonymous said...

We remember when Marushak was in power, a word we have carefully chosen. Not only did he order the planting of those trees, he ordered a small nearby meadow away from traffic and vehicular parking to be "covered" with new tree growth, some said at the time, as a preventative measure so city children could not enjoy winter activities.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 10:48, i have done some research on mr. luckenbach's activism, and will be writing more about him soon. i would have been honored to know him.

anon 10:54, mr. maraushak does not have a seat on the trust, but he did write a history on the general

Anonymous said...

The Evergreens you write about were actually planted by a local scouting troop as a project under Marushak's guidance. The scouts thought they were doing a good deed, until, unfortunately, Burt's letter appeared in the Call.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Thank you for clearing up that
Trexler board member question. Many know that it was under Marushak's guidance and encouragement the Lights in the Parkway project was undertaken by former mayor William Heydt.

Anonymous said...

We can only imagine what might have happened or not happened to Allentown's park system in the 1980s under Marushak's direction, if you, Mr. Molovinsky, the Internet, and a few others who love the city had been around.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 12:20, i can tell you that mr. luckenbach was active then against those plans. i did get involved against lights in the parkway at the time, as did numerous parkway neighbors (including luckenbach) and an attorney was actually retained, to no avail. there is much truth to the adage that it is hard to fight city hall.

allentown taxpayer said...

MM, Has Michael Donovan ever expressed any support for your campaign? I know in the past he was willing to get involved in park matters (I recall it landed him in the hospital).

michael molovinsky said...

in fairness to donovan, i would have to say that yes, he has been supportive. both he and eichenwald voted against the trail network plan; i took it has an admission that they realized that they lost control over the cedar park plan.

i stopped briefly by andrew kleiner's tour today. i'm also hopeful that the EAC will start asserting themselves. although we have different criterion, i'm for the traditional park and wpa, they have ecological concerns; what we have in common is that the current park plans do not address either of our concerns.

Anonymous said...

MM -

I was in the parkway this past weekend. The "No Mow" areas are already a problem. Not only are they unsightly, but they are becoming the home to some unsavory-looking wildlife (aka rats).

I can hardly wait until mosquito season, where some of these areas (such as the area across the creek from the police academy) won't dry out for the entire summer.

It seems they are trying to make the parkway less attractive to visit.

Anonymous said...

The WPA era water fountains could and can be turned on and off. Not sure who told you otherwise. There is still one original fountain in the Parkway across the stream from the current Road Runners clubhouse. It turns on and off; does not continuously run. But it could use some repair and a good cleaning.

Anonymous said...

It seems they are trying to make the parkway less attractive to visit.

May 24, 2010 8:50 AM

Sorta like some museums.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 1:35, i was going by my memory of the stone fountain near the robin hood bridge, i didn't recall a lever, sorry for my senior moment.

Anonymous said...

8:50 Anon,

If that is the goal, to reduce the number of visitors...

...I can categorically state the plan is working quite well, at least as far as I am concerned.


Anonymous said...

I like the one lady's comment left here quite some time ago about how she wishes people would not work so hard to 'save' us.

The NO MOW signs account makes me feel like quoting her.

And reminds me that CAP AND TAX is on the way and WILL BE rammed down the American public's throat.

Because Green Jobs are the Liberal's GREAT ANSWER for the economy currently undergoing a magical jobless recovery!

And, we have to pay for America's past transgressions - specifically, America stole everything it has.

Good thing Obama will return everything to "it's rightful owners" - Obama's quote, not mine.

Anonymous said...

"I can hardly wait until mosquito season, where some of these areas (such as the area across the creek from the police academy) won't dry out for the entire summer."

Possibly the soon-to-be-paved blacktopped paths in the Parkway to be utilized by the pro-bike lobby at the expense of all others will attract the mosquitoes and the rest of us will enjoy in peace.

Anonymous said...

You might be correct too. Don't know the one by the Robin Hood.
Did the city take it out? Think these fountains can be adjusted. Perhaps the city wanted to remove it and used some excuse. Please every so often show that photo of what the Robin Hood area looked like, not that long ago.

michael molovinsky said...
anon 1:35, i was going by my memory of the stone fountain near the robin hood bridge, i didn't recall a lever, sorry for my senior moment.

May 24, 2010 2:25 PM

michael molovinsky said...

i did recently examine the old stone fountain (not working) past the stone step structure near the water authority pumping building. it's a simple brass fitting in a shallow brass drain bowl. there certainly never was a lever on the stone, and i don't recall one on the pipe. perhaps years later, they were retrofitted with levers at the pipe.