Dec 2, 2014

Wildlands Conservancy Dictates Allentown Park Policy

In a recent post about Wehr's Dam and South Whitehall, I reported how the Wildlands Conservancy was calling the shots there. Yesterday, I received a comment from John Mikowychok, former park director of Allentown.

  John Mikowychok has left a new comment on your post "South Whitehall's Transparency Issue": "I also learned that the former park director of Allentown, John Mikowychok, had met with the Conservancy, and was bought on board with dam demolishing before he even began working in his Allentown position. This explains how he endorsed demolishing two small dams on the Little Lehigh, before he actually ever saw them. Although I never underestimated the influence of the Wildlands Conservancy, I didn't realize that they were actually inside and running the park departments."michael molovinsky
Mike, your statements above are false. I never met with the Conservancy before commencing work with Allentown on 4/15/2013. Looking at my 2013 calendar: My first meeting with them was Friday, May 10, nearly a month after commencing employment. And, Wildlands was involved because they worked (prior to my employment) with the City in developing the grant applications to PA-DCNR, PA-DEP, and other funding partners. They were the lead entity in coordinating this funding, as well as the engineering of the dam removals and restoration of surrounding embankments. There were no back-room deals, here -- only cooperation between the City and a Conservancy with similarly-minded environmental goals. -- JPM 

Although I consider my original assertion when the first meeting took place from a reliable source, the issue is the dominance of the Conservancy in park policy. Those looking for the beautiful little dam seen above will never see it's beauty or hear it's sound. As documented above, the Allentown Park Director, after being on the job 29 days, agreed to demolish the irreplaceable WPA dam, which graced the park since 1941. He also agreed on that day to allow the Wildlands to demolish the Trout Nursery Dam, designed by Harry Trexler himself. Why should the Wildlands Conservancy be dictating Allentown Park Policy and decisions? Why should Mayor Pawlowski and his out of town park directors allow the Wildlands Conservancy to use the iconic park system as their experiment? Allentown parks are endowed by the Trexler Trust. Outside grants are not needed, especially when they result in the destruction of historic beauty, and changes to classic design.



Mickie said...

I still want to know if there has been a public health study about the weed barrier. We are number in the U.S. for lyme disease and all research from the CDC to most public health resources cite that a basic and first step is inhibiting weeds. Why is no one talking about this health issue?

Dreaming of Justice said...

Your original point is still well taken. If there were the appropriate amount of transparency in the first place, maybe questions about irrevocable decisions wouldnt come up. His response to you sounds like a whine. He still made the decision with an undue amount of influence from the Money-maker Conservancy.

michael molovinsky said...

justice@9:33, i believe that the trexler trust is being negligent. they are charged by trexler's will with supporting the allentown park system. i believe that after several crass decisions which degraded gifts given by trexler himself during in his lifetime, that they are violating the spirit of the will by not defending the general's gifts. he employed a prominent philadelphia landscape artist to design the very features that the city is now allowing to be degraded and demolished.

Anonymous said...

You are fighting an "up-hill" battle with an Organization that been entrenched behind the scenes for decades....Now with so many new comers ("auslanders")inhabiting the Valley without a "clue" of our native born history or heritage, it makes it all that much more difficult... Others who arrived in recent decades DO! appreciate your efforts, and came for the beauty, peace, and quiet.
So you are not alone in this battle...Please keep up the good work!