Jul 5, 2018
To Whom Do The Allentown Parks Belong
Recently the Allentown Park Director told me that she is being pressured to plant wider riparian buffers by the Conservancy/Greenlands, and to cut them down by me. But, who are we? I represent the park sentiments of thousands of Allentonians. I know this from social media such as facebook, where hundreds of people every week tell me to keep fighting for the parks. I know this from visiting the parks, where dozens of people tell me to keep fighting. But more importantly, who is the Wildlands Conservancy and Greenways of Lehigh Valley? They are regional groups with paid professional directors who seek and award grants. Although their counsel might be useful for a small township or municipality without its own park department, why should they dictate policy in Allentown? Allentown has its own iconic park system, and even its own grant benefactor, The Trexler Trust.
In Allentown the storm sewer system is piped directly into the creeks, bypassing the riparian buffers, making them useless as buffers anyway. All they accomplish is to block both access and view of the streams. The Allentown Park Department allowed the Greenway Project to plant a buffer on the Little Lehigh in Fountain Park, while at the same time allowing the swimming pool there to succumb to neglect and permanent closure. It is time for Mayor O'Connell and Allentown to reclaim direction of the Allentown Park System.