Jun 5, 2012

An Important Meeting

The bridge to the island shown above was removed by a park director forty years ago. Although I and several members of my group managed to unearth some of the buried Boat Landing, the portion shown in the lower right of the picture remains covered. Whether you feel that the remaining accomplishments of the WPA must be protected, or are concerned with the environmental consequences of park policy, please join us as we meet this evening. The park department is in a state of flux. In addition to the former director having moved on, several key personnel have retired. Added to the mix, the department has about one third less workers than several years ago. Existing citizen groups, such as Friends of the Parks, either have a political agenda, or appear to be compromised, in one way or another. Although never really interested with the traditional or environmental aspects of the parks, the Administration is currently completely preoccupied with it's center city development. The meeting will take place on the second floor of the Allentown Library this evening, Tuesday June 5, at 7:00.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

great picture. was wondering, would it be possible to occasionally do side-by-side before and current views of these areas?

VOR

michael molovinsky said...

vor, yes that can be done. for now, let me tell you about the photo, which will enlarge if clicked. in addition to the bridge being gone, the island is completely overgrown. it has also grown from silt accumulation, but even more on the downstream side toward the boat landing. how that occurs is unclear to me. the boat landing was completely buried for decades, until partially cleared several years ago. for that story, click on" boat landing" link in the post. the hill in the background of photo is completely forested now. the photo dates to around 1934.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful, large, buck roamed near the entrance of the Parkway for several years. Last year the Allentown Police found the deer, shot and killed, on that island. Right there, on that island.

Anonymous said...

Great photo MM. Boy oh bioy you have a neat collection.
MM, the hillside in the background is the one near the LCA power house. It actually has less trees now. All those young evergreens in your photo are gone now.
There is a frisbee golf tee off at the top of the hill and the lawn slopes down to the stream.

Anonymous said...

The stone walls are beautiful. So is the bridge. You can see how the island was in trouble from day one with soil just plopped right out there and the stream flattened out and widened.. Silt was starting to build up from the start on the lower right of the photo. Will we ever find the proper balance. Well, we can keep trying.

michael molovinsky said...

@10:23, the island was created by digging a new channel on the bridge side, it's part of the former stream bank. i'll be glad to answer any question, to the best of my knowledge, on any of the wpa constructions. i have invited andrew kleiner to co-host,(no reply as of yet) to address questions concerning park ecology. whatever your interest, please attend.

Anonymous said...

Just upstream from the Boat Landing, just downstream from Robinhood Bridge, many tons of large rocks were placed along the stream bank to halt erosion. At the Robinhood Bridge itself, the stream is several feet wider than 10 years ago, threatening to errode the gravel Bridel Path. Cement has been repeatedly poured into the creek at the base of this bridge to limit erosion around the bridge piers.
Most of the soil lost at those two locations has been deposited just downstream, on the engineered island, making it longer, wider, flatter, swampy.
The island was a wonderful attempt at park design by the WPA. It was, however, doomed from it's inception.

michael molovinsky said...

i'm glad to host these comments. i have studied the wpa structures, and collected photographs, including some original documentation shots. although anonymous comments are welcome, please consider enhancing your credibility by signature. consider the authoritative comment yesterday, who erroneously insisted that there was no farm-field west of the golf course mudding the little cedar creek. i visited that island all through the 1950's and 60's. the silt built up through neglect by the park director at the time. tires were allowed to remain and create artificial "reefs" don't under estimate the WPA designs and constructions. don't over estimate the park directors and anonymous comments.

Anonymous said...

The Boat Landing and Island :
A+ Visual Design and Intent
D- Engineering and Implementation

Lehigh U., Engineering ,''63

Anonymous said...

Nature wants to revert to it's original structure.
Rule of Thumb-- Dredging is a stop gap measure, at best.
-- Engineered channeling, never a good plan
( See Aswan Dam, Mississippi Flood, New Orleans,Jersey Shore,etc.)


Oh,and man made lakes, never a good idea.

michael molovinsky said...

@11:36, still no signature, amazing. regardless, please tell me the problem with the boat landing. btw, the landing was intentionally buried by a former park director using a backhoe. when we unearthed the center portion several years ago, it was in perfect condition. please use the search engine on my sidebar and type in boat landing.

Anonymous said...

MOLOVINSKY and. KLEINER
THE PARK HAS REAL ISSUES. THAT WOULD BE GREAT IF IT WAS IN THE SPIRIT OF PROBLEM SOLVING AND LOOKING FOR SOME COMMON GROUND. NO SO MUCH IF IT WAS A SILLY OR DEVICEIVE PISSING CONTEST.
MM HOW ABOUT CALLING THAT MEETING OF THE MINDS POST," THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS"......AND HAVE A GREAT DAY.

michael molovinsky said...

@11:56, kleiner and I have different approaches and goals for the parks, but we both appreciate the effort put forth by each other. andrew attended and helped with both the boat landing digout, and the wagon trail cleanup. i likewise dropped in on several of his events. you will notice that both our bloglists include each other.

michael molovinsky said...

@11:49, nobody said that great parks have to be natural. the lakes at both central park in NYC and the Boston Commons were made. there are millions of acres of land left in it's natural state throughout the country, in both state parks and national parks. even farms are not nature;farmland must be plowed every year, or saplings grow. without upkeep, our parks would revert back to woodland.

Anonymous said...

Parks definately need upkeep, no matter the style, of course. Even buffer zones need upkeep. Farms are a great source of damaging runoff, as you mm pointed out, and other pollution problems unless well managed following best practices and current science based standards. Nobody wants another dustbowl.
Who is saying all great parks are natural?
There IS NO NATURAL anymore,if you mean unaffected by man. And yet man can't control the big nature events.

Everything on the earth, golf courses and Grand Canyon exist in nature! Steel beams rust, rust never sleeps, all made made things are straining to revert. Just the way it goes on this planet.

Bernie O'Hare said...

MM, Hope you have an informative meeting. I am continually amazed by how much Allentonians care about their parks. That's evidenced by the number of comments on your blogs on this topic, even when you are forced to moderate. Good luck!

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, people are interested and do care, but it doesn't necessarily translate into attending a meeting or other demonstrative action. for my first meeting, weitzel send the president of friends of the parks and also a park supervisor. as attendance at the meetings waned, so did they. if the administration thought that ignoring the WPA, or the ecology agenda, had political consequences, they would be more responsive.

Anonymous said...

MM -- Your reply to Bernie, sadly on target.

The lakes in Central Park and Boston, you enjoy them. Me too. Spent many a day in Central Park. That park is now managed by top people, ecologists and environmentalists one and all. Great people, I've met some of them. High standards, no dopes.no guess work.

The comment at 11:49 has a point with man made lakes. No city in the world would create one like Boston's or NYC today. Allentown's little lake is fecal heaven on silt.
Man made lakes and chanellized streams and rivers have, over many years, been studied and documented to be problematic.

Anonymous said...

The WPA was not perfect, but pretty damn good, as you say Michael.
I'm surprised that some of the conservatives and tea party people haven't blasted you for your admiration of the WPA.
Good for you MM.

ironpigpen said...

With all due respect, Mr. Molovinsky, does the Pawlowski Administration worry about the political consequences of anything?

I contend the correct answer would be "not in the slightest but why on Earth should they?".

How to improve attendance at these meetings of yours to show the Pawlowski Administration that people in the City With No Limits care very much about their once awesome but now obviously declining Park system?

I can't really say I know for sure but I do know for a fact that people like to see a show, they want to be entertained.

(kick-butt refreshments never hurt, either ... maybe you need to form a secretive, all-powerful Lobby to drive influence)

:)

RO

Anonymous said...

Michae,sir.
Do you have any insight into the storm run off that makes the Little Lehigh so muddy after a rain?
Thanks

michael molovinsky said...

muhlenberg lake was degraded by the construction of the land bridge to the island, to accommodate the paddle boat concession. if that land bridge was removed, the lake would be much less stagnant.

michael molovinsky said...

anon 3:08, i do not concern myself with the policies of franklin roosevelt in the 1930's. at this point in time, those constructions are icons of the park system, which we could never afford to replace, but we can maintain them. the craftsmanship, the masonry, etc. of that era can no longer be replicated on such a scale. for example, the wall on union and junction street above fountain park is 20 ft. high and two blocks long.

michael molovinsky said...

@3:24, i answered this on another post yesterday. the mud comes off farm fields which have been plowed and planted in the spring. when we haven't had a heavy rainstorm in a while, the little lehigh is very clear.

Anonymous said...

If I can recall my history lessons from the past, the WPA projects were designed to put out of work men on the job to keep them busy, pay them for productive work and to improve conditions. Mission accomplished. The scale of most projects is vast. The problem I guess no one foresaw was that it would take an army of men to maintain the masterpieces. Everytime I see an overgrown area near a highway, I think of the unemployed men in this country who could be mobilized and put to work...


VOR

michael molovinsky said...

vor, i do not believe that the constructions really required that much work. check out the stone work. the vertical surfaces were so well done that most still do not require repointing. the top surfaces do require some patchwork now and then. other park features, such as the rose and old fashion garden require considerably more upkeep. problem in allentown is priorities. we created more modern features while allowing our iconic ones to suffer from neglect. who entitled murushak (a former park director) to remove the island bridge or bury the boat landing. i did prevail on a park supervisor to uncover the remains of the spring pond near the robin hood bridge and clean up the miniature stone walking bridge. we have spend $hundreds of thousands planning for the Trail network Plan, to interconnect the parks for the cyclists, and pave all the trails. wrong priorities by a director trained only in recreation.

Anonymous said...

Who was mayor when that paddle boat nonsense started?

Anonymous said...

They like the rest of allentown will be sold off and subdevided. Look at the ones that are not selling off front st that was once jordan park and also a historical little graveyard.
Overgrown with weeds, than oops just another subdevision jordan medows?

Anonymous said...

Murushak's boss permitted him to destroy the WPA treasures. Mayor Joe Dadona.
And for that,the city changed the name of Union Terrace park, named in honor of 25,000 Union Soilders who gave their lives to save the Union,and end slavery.
Good deal I'd say.