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Remember: My Plan for Jordan Park

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Plan for Jordan Park

As I explained in my post, Andrew Kleiner and his blog, I sort of stumbled into this park business. I have always been a frequent visitor to the parks but I had never been a reporter on them. There are two specific memories I always revisit when I make my visits. The first is of my father and of being a young kid as wide eyed as the skin on my face would allow at the sight of a dragonfly or a crawfish my dad managed to find in the creek. The second is of a day camp ,that my memory is a little fuzzy on. My parents enlisted me in some sort of summer camp at Cedar Beach where we explored the creek and I can say my love for the science of nature truly began there.

I bring this up in this post because I think that they are both applicable to Jordan Park because of the fact the neither of these experiences is currently available at Jordan Park and they absolutely should be.

No secret has been made of my disdain for the current state of Jordan Park. It is with this post that I will propose what I think should be included in the master plan currently being created for it.

The first thing I would like to see done is the complete removal of the stone walls that currently channel the creek and stretch its width and inflate its depth. Part of this process should include the removal of the bridge/dam that is currently present there. I have posted many photographs and documented the stagnation of water that occurs there due to the bridge. These stone walls outlived their purpose many years ago, it is time for them to go.

Following the removal of the stone edifices, I would like to see the streambanks restored and large spanning riparian buffers installed. Alongside of the buffers, I would like to see signage created that would show park-goers the plants, animals and fish are present in the park. The connection that I made with my father, and with that day camp can slowly start to be made for children in the park with some signs. We need only to point people in the right direction. Some will follow, not all, but it is for the some that follow that the opportunity needs to exist. They will not find it elsewhere.

With whatever stones are salvageable from the removal of the creek walls, a W.P.A memorial should be created in Jordan Park. It could offer a brief history of what was done in Allentown during that time and as there are no other such memorials in our park system; it is something needed to be done.

Through the buffer zone which should stretch from the creek’s edge to the paved path, a trail should be established that would allow people to really explore the wildlife habitat these areas create. It is the chance that by doing this that a moment could be given to someone who without this chance would not have it. Imagine the reaction of kids who grew up in center city Allentown when they see their first Egret? General Trexler will surely crack a smile wherever he is.

Existing recreational facilities can be upgraded but that area of Jordan Park is in far better shape than the area surrounding the creek. Jordan Park could be the example we set for how future parks in Allentown are developed. It is not these renovations that I propose that alone will turn things around in Jordan Park.

Community Centers, YMCAs, Boy Scouts, etc., need to develop programs in the park to really utilize what could be created down there. In an hour we could provide a visitor with a genuine wildlife experience while at the same time exposing them to a history that is fading quickly from general knowledge and needs to be acknowledged.

These brief suggestions barely touch the surface of what is possible in Jordan Park. It was one of our first parks and should serve as a leader again. I have included no pictures in this post but I do encourage you to see Jordan park. Click on the link to the right or, even better, take a journey there yourself. It will probably be the first time you have gone in awhile. As it stands, there isn’t much worth seeing down there but possibility. It's the possibility that makes this park worth it…

Perhaps I can convince my father to go find crayfish there sometime soon but I don’t think we will find many.



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