Jun 26, 2014

Park Follies and Misappropriations

Over the years this blog and myself have established credibility and expertise on Allentown's traditional park system and the WPA. I must report what I consider to be a major shenanigan by the mayor. $1.3 million dollars was taken to purchase two heavy industrial areas, to supposedly add to the park system. This $million plus dollars was taken from the water/sewage lease, which is being used as the mayor's discretionary fund, instead of the dedicated pension relief,  promised at the time. $950,000.00 was used to buy the parcel at Union and Basin Streets, near the city sewage plant. This is one of the oldest industrial areas in the city, and certainly not needed for more park land. Allentown has not been able to maintain the existing park land, or the features within it. The Fountain Park Pool has been abandoned, and the WPA structures are crumbling. The other just purchased parcel is the old fertilizer plant location,  along Martin Luther King Dr., west of the crumbling Schreibers Bridge. We have an administration with no memory or knowledge of Allentown's past. Anybody who knew what went on at the fertilizer/rendering plant, would not want their grandchildren playing there. The city's rationale for these purchases is to expand the biking paths and connect the parks. That's the folly, and now the misappropriations. Allentown has supposedly allocated money to engineer the repair of the leaning WPA wall in Lehigh Parkway. I know why the wall leans. Years ago, the stone shoulder between the park entrance and wall was blacktoped. As cars and city trucks drive around the curve, pressure is exerted against the wall. That strip of asphalt needs to be removed, and the stone buffer restored. The problem with the engineering study is that it's the third time it has been appropriated. In the last two budgets money was actually budgeted to repair the wall, now the process begins again. What happen to the previous appropriations? Must molovinsky on allentown now also establish expertise in forensic accounting?


Dreaming of Justice said...

Sounds like a posthumous Maya Angelou novel: "I Know Why The Wall Leans".

The city is run at the pleasure of the mayor, his cronies, and five filthy rich white men.

Just wow.

Monkey momma said...

Forensic accounting is almost always required if you want to know exactly what happened in any situation involving people and money.

What is the deal with the bike paths???? Seriously. The bike stencils crack me up downtown. I have literally never seen a bike being ridden on Linden. (I'm downtown 4 or 5 times a week on Linden, too.) Yet there are a ridiculous amount of stencils covering the street, reminding me that bikes MIGHT show up one day. I won't hold my breath.

This honestly sounds like some crazy money laundering scheme. Where DID the money go? My guess is it's in someone's pocket.

michael molovinsky said...

momma@7:21, as a proponent of the WPA it's very discouraging. not one penny has been spend doing even one repair in the last 6 years. the parkway wall was supposed to be reinforced with buttresses. although money was allocated for the fountain park steps, it's now being redirected to the parkway wall. in both cases, the money was being used for consulting engineers, instead of stone masons. instead of spending $1,300,000.00 on contaminated land, those funds could have repaired all the wpa structures in the city and had significant left-over. city council, with the exception of jeanette, is just a rubber stamp in the dark.

Anonymous said...

I also found the recent land purchases curious. Uncovering who the actual owner of those parcels was BEFORE their purchase might reveal a better understanding of why the buys were made. Maybe precious funds were used to relieve a friend's burden.

Fred Windish

michael molovinsky said...

fred@7:54, the union street parcel was owned by an LLC called basin property development. the price of $950k, at that location, seems extraordinarily high. the other parcel was owned by abe atiyeh. at $450k, it was a windfall for him. he had been denied various uses he proposed over the years.

Anonymous said...

I'm at a loss to explain the fertilizer plant purchase. The property straddles the creek, and I believe part of it lies in Salisbury Township.

To top it off, I'm pretty sure there was an existing right-of-way with a bike trail, meaning the parks were already connected.