both pictures from Swimming Towards The Future presentation
above reprinted from May of 2012
ADDENDUM OCTOBER 8, 2018: This past weekend one of the many congratulations on facebook to Karen EI-Chaar was from former park director Greg Weitzel. Weitzel, who now works in Idaho, wrote that he hopes to see El-Chaar at an upcoming national recreation convention.
One of my achievements in regard to the WPA was making Ms. El-Chaar, in her former capacity as director of Friends Of The Parks, more familiar with the importance of the WPA in our park system. Ms. El-Chaar is now the new director of Allentown Park and Recreation. Although I'm encouraged that she asked me to reconvene my previous WPA group, I realize that an additional mission must be advocating for the traditional park system, of which the WPA is just one part.
When Ms. El-Chaar attends these groups she will be surrounded by Weitzel types, who think that being a park director is ordering recreation equipment from a catalog, the more the better. Frankly, Allentown's unique park system has been corrupted. We have historical structures, such as Bogert's Covered Bridge, rotting away. We have outside conservation groups blocking both view and access to the streams with weed walls. Although I will continue advocating for the WPA, I will not become silent on the other issues.
ADDENDUM AUGUST 4, 2021: I'm proud that I and this blog fought Weitzel and Pawlowski tooth and nail against this water park plan and other absurd excessive plans, designed for their careers, not the city's betterment. Move ahead nine years and we can't even keep the swimming pool free from vandalism...Imagine the yoke around our neck that the water park would have been.
Although we now have a mayor and park director dedicated to the city's best interest, I will nevertheless continue to speak out for our traditional park system.