A tradition almost 100 years old ended yesterday, as Allentown started to pave the bridal paths in Lehigh Parkway. Although, they were equestrian friendly by design, Pawlowski is now in high gear to extend bike paths, and defend the land he purchased from Abe Atiyeh two years ago. The city received an $85,000 grant from Harrisburg to plan a new park near Basin Street, incorporating that purchased land. Pawlowski has proclaimed that it will be called Central Park, and attract more millennials, and eventually adjacent housing for them. Considering the neglected conditions in our existing park system, the grant and plan symbolizes the illness of the Pawlowski administration. While the city applied for that grant, they ignored the neglect in all the existing parks. Although, the collapsed portion of the Lehigh Parkway wall was rebuilt so that they could reopen the park entrance road, the remainder of the wall received no attention. The centerpiece, which is the double staircase, is literally falling apart. The current park director, Lindsay Taylor, is as pliable as her predecessors. She doesn't stand up to defend or repair the existing parks, and is instead apparently more concerned with her paycheck and resumé.
Pawlowski claims that this new park plan heralds back to previous plans under former director Greg Weitzel. I attended his bike path meetings back then, and there was no bike path proposed east of where Martin Luther King Drive divides off of Union Street. Paving the Parkway bridal path now is more part of a legal defense, than a park improvement. The paving changes the nature of the Parkway from pastural to urban, instantaneously.
Allentown hasn't had the funds to maintain the existing parks properly for over a decade. There are less park employees now than ever. So far, both Allentown City Council and the Trexler Trust have also failed to insist on proper priorities for the existing park system.