Nov 26, 2021

Defending Monocacy Park

I have often explained to people how Allentown WPA projects came to benefit so much from Harry Trexler.  In the late 1920's Trexler commissioned Franklin Meehan, a leading Philadelphia-based landscape architect, to design the park system for Allentown. When the depression hit in 1929, Trexler put implementing those plans on hold.  In 1935, when the New Deal WPA came to town,  the city was shovel ready with plans commissioned years earlier by Trexler. 

In the last decade (and before) I have been an advocate for maintaining the WPA structures within our park system.  While Allentown can boast of numerous magnificent structures, Bethlehem also received the royal treatment with the construction of the elaborate dam complex in Monocacy Park. 

Unfortunately for Bethlehem, the Wildlands Conservancy still has its sights set on demolishing that and all other dams. Although they publicly state that they respect a municipality's decisions on such matters, they never stop moving forward with their agenda.  They poison the well behind the scenes with state agencies, which have regulation over dams.  In South Whitehall, their scheming with counterparts in Harrisburg has driven the cost of keeping Wehr's Dam from $50K to $750K.

While I cannot actively take on the mission of protecting the Monocacy Dam, the least I can do is sound the alarm.  If there are people out there who realize that Bethlehem will never again be graced with such a magnificent park,  they should start organizing to defend it.

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