May 13, 2013
The Parkway Bridge
General Harry Trexler hired Meehan and Associates, of Philadelphia, to design Lehigh Parkway's Robin Hood area. In 1935, when the WPA began it's park projects, Allentown was shovel ready. Although the General was killed in 1933, his trust was already established in 35, and helped fund the monumental structures. In addition to the park entrance wall, the WPA built the bridge, to provide a parking and a picnic area for park enjoyment. A dam was built 18 feet beyond the bridge, to complete the magic that has endured during the last 78 years. Although the WPA used experienced stone masons, they were not bridge engineers. The Wildland's Conservancy has received a grant to remove 9 dams, including the Robin Hood dam, by the bridge. How this removal will effect the durability of the bridge piers, and ambience of the Robin Hood, has not been considered. Although generally dam removal improves water quality, in this case, the net result would just be tokenism. A major sewage line runs right next to the stream, which occasionally overflows during heavy rains. To jeopardize the bridge, considering these realities, would be poor park management. The permission to remove this dam was given in the transition period between park directors. This evening, I will attend a meeting and have an opportunity to meet our new Park Director. Let the Conservancy instead remove 8 dams, and ensure that our WPA bridge is not endangered.