Feb 15, 2017

Saving The Spring Pond

As a small boy growing up in the twin homes above Lehigh Parkway, I would go down the steep wooded ravine and cross the Robin Hood Bridge. The stone lined spring pond and miniature bridge was just the first in a series of wonderful WPA constructions to explore. Last year, when I organized the reclamation of the Boat Landing, my memory turned to the pond. Although overgrown with several inches of sod, I knew the treasure was still savable.

In the spring of 2010 I met Mike Gilbert of the Park Department, and pitched the idea of a partial restoration. On May 26th, I posted A Modest Proposal, which outlined my hopes for the pond. By July, Gilbert had the Park Department clear off the remaining stones, and clean up around the miniature bridge.

Park Director Greg Weitzel  indicated to me that the pond features uncovered will be maintained. Any further clearing would be at the discretion of Mike Gilbert. In our conversation he also stated that there are virtually no funds available for the preservation of the WPA icons.

I will attempt to organize a group and contributions for this most worthy cause. Between the Spring Pond and The Boat Landing there was once a bridge to the island. Wouldn't it be nice if a small boy could go exploring.
reprinted from previous posts
UPDATE August 2013Mike Gilbert has retired, and the Park Department has a new director. Although grass and sod are starting to again cover the remaining stones that surround the pond, the miniature bridge is still visible. I will make it my mission to again pitch the new personnel.

UPDATE June 18, 2014. The grass and sod has reclaimed the stones that surround the pond. Only the very top of the miniature bridge is still visible to those who know that it's there. Unless there is an immediate intervention, it's days are numbered.

UPDATE February 2017:In 2015, in cooperation with Friends of Allentown Parks, I supervised college volunteers to clear the new sod off the pond stones, and the new bush off the miniature bridge. Allentown is on its third park director since this post was first written, and has acquired two large parcels to create new parks. To be planning additional parks, when our existing park features are left to abandonment, is incredibility poor management.


doug_b said...

I've read quite a few of your posts about saving Little Lehigh Pkwy, and other historic structures. I have a few theories on the problem:

#1. It's a sign of corruption. When nothing gets done it's because they want you to go away. This is similar to the old question: Why can't we simplify taxes? Notice how the congress has completely ignored this request for 50 years. You're getting the same treatment by A-Town bureaucrats.

#2 The new park people have no idea of a real park. They are middle mangers with no appreciation of what's there. It's the job of middle mangers to hire consultants and buy stuff. To them a park is plastic jungle gyms, and amusements. A landscape architect would see the value.

#3. After 50 years of TV, people are wired, and can't appreciate something quiet. One of the reasons you have very few supporters.

#4. After people graduate from college, they leave A-town because of lack of opportunity. So you have less and less people with a memory of what was. The residents of A-Town have been replaced by low socioeconomic outsiders. Not a likely group to care what happens.

Good luck!

TRENT HALL said...

Doug has hit the nail on the head.....all points are true. I would add by amplifying Point # 1.....just like Congressmen when they retire/lose office...they go downtown and work for the lobbyists/consulting firms that lobby for favorable provisions in the tax code for the interests they represent & profit from, thereby adding pages to the tax code and creating more work for accountants/lawyers/consulting firms/yadda yadda. Simplifying the tax code would be injurious to their career future.

Likewise A-town former bureaucrats won't aspire to work for Lowe's or Target.....they will seek employment with developers/zoning shops/consulting firms/yadda yadda where their "expertise" (i.e. contacts/knowledge of the rules) can pay off.