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.