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Remember: My Opinion: Jordan Park Rant

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Opinion: Jordan Park Rant

Looking at Jordan Park during different seasons doesn’t change the ever present problems facing the Jordan creek there. In the springtime, and now, water of various colors (all of them unhealthy) usually pours over the bridge/dam and impedes travel to the other side of the park.

During my visit, the excess of algae growth from the summer was being ripped up from the creek floor and poured over the dam in sickly gray splashes.

What is left from summer’s scum was accumulated alongside a long branch against the dam/bridge.

What a glaringly obvious mess this is. If I have made one thing clear these past few months it is that the priorities of the impassioned park “defenders” here in Allentown are in fact skewed, just as the priorities of the renovation plans for our park system are skewed. This mess at Jordan Park, since it has yet to be addressed, needs addressing now. The longer the situation exists as it does the worse it will get.

One of the recurring themes of the Cedar Beach argument over the summer was the idea that “since the parks were fine for eighty years, they should be just fine now.” That argument was wrong in June, it is wrong in December and it will continue to be wrong unless the poor circumstances are fixed or parks like Jordan Park are allowed to degrade further and lose all semblance of ecosystem and environmental sustainability. Just look at the pictures or take a walk in Jordan Park and I dare you to tell me that things are acceptable as they are. Things do need changing and improvement throughout our park system and now is the time for that improvement to focus on the issues at Jordan Park.

When spring comes round again in a few months, it is my hope that a plan will have been introduced and movement begun to correct this glaring issue. In the current publication of Adventure Allentown, Mayor Pawlowski states that our parks are envied, and he is right. I hope he knows that what is envied is being lost and lost rapidly at Jordan Park.

See Also:
My Plan for Jordan Park



Blogger LVCI said...

"One of the recurring themes of the Cedar Beach argument over the summer was the idea that “since the parks were fine for eighty years, they should be just fine now.”

Let me start by qualifying your statement.

No a single person said nor implied to just do nothing. The key points made, by those who pushed back, were the LACK OF MAINTENANCE while pursing additional structures, etc.

All disagreements should be based forth from that basis. The what is and what isn't proper "maintenance " is up for further interpretation and opinion.

To imply I or others wants to do nothing or that we believe "they should be just fine" is a misinterpretation that will further result in adversarial additional arguments and hard feelings.

Personally I feel my statements were perverted creating an impression that I suggest abandoning repair and maintaining at the levels they once were. I remember them in the 50's. I KNOW what they looked like when they were maintained. That is not what your seeing down there today.

Certainly all the work Chris, MM and others have done to try an "maintain" certainly contradicts your presentation..

Lastly may I point out much of what your describing of the creek itself is a result of conditions upstream the city has no power to control. The DEP is a huge monster that is in charge of maintaining the water ways, creeks and rivers. It must be remembered anytime you perform any kind of actual work in the creek itself, it all must be pre-approved by the state. And that includes when the city does so as well.

Perhaps your concerns about the water quality itself (algae growth) needs to be directed to the DEP since that exceeds our authority .

December 2, 2009 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...


The major issue at Jordan Park is the dam/bridge and the concrete creek walls which slow the flow of the stream, greatly and unnaturally deepen and widen the stream, and completely eliminate the possibility of the needed vegetation to maintain stream health.

Even returning the park system to a maintenance level comparable to the one in 1950, and I wasn't here to see it, would not stop the environmental degradation occurring now.

December 2, 2009 at 9:30 AM  
Blogger Katie Bee said...

The part of the Jordan that runs through my development has a weir right in it. After seeing all the things that collect in that deep spot and get washed into my back yard during every spring flood, I can say that it's gross and I would rather a shallow, clean(ish) creek than something wide, deep and placid to look at.

Not even a quarter mile upstream, the creek gets very wide and shallow, then very narrow and deep - these are the parts of the creek that I've swum in.

I can't believe I've ever thought it was ok to swim in the Jordan, but hey. Sometimes teenagers make mistakes.

December 2, 2009 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger LVCI said...

Again.. these are mostly DEP related issues that require cooperation at the state level

December 2, 2009 at 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

talking about compairing the current situation to the 50ies, I too was there, doesn't make much sence. it's like compairing our roadways to the 50ies. lumping all park "defenders" into one group doesn't make sence either and it just plain is not true. last spring attorney m.gross, a man who has a long family history with the city and it's parks, was quoited at a parks news conference saying, and I para- phrase, " we are lucky here in allentown, our parks are in great shape, we can put most of our { city and trexler trust } resources into enhancements and additional facilities....". in fairness, this should be checked with attorney gross for accuracy. this thinking on the part of the people who write the checks takes us to the nub of the problem. if the city fathers really beleive everything in the parks really look pretty good, and i beleive they do beleive this, well then andrew, here we are. as you have pointed out so well for months andrew , that is not the case. it seems the people in charge, the city and trexler, either will not admit, or more likely and much worse, really beleive that the parks are in tip-top shape but for some maintainence issues. as this site has shown us again and again, this just isn't so. there are some very real problems in the parks. they will be costly to fix and many of them are not flashy p.r. projects. just criticaly important for the long term health of allentowns most famous and valuable gift. 17 park workers laid off. this is a time for all who love our city to be very ,very concerned.

December 2, 2009 at 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flip ... Flop ... Flip ...

December 2, 2009 at 6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes LVCI, many stream issues are complicated by up stream facters. Certainly we must think and act collaboratively from a watershed wide perspective. Yes,very often the state or neighboring municipalities need to be involved. Storm water management is a HUGE issue. None of this means that, with leadership, the city can't take some effective and necessary actions in the meantime. There is much that can be done as Andrew suggests. Some maintenance is regular and routine, and some is major, complicated and expensive. This well require the city park dept. changing their current priorities....but , up stream problems do not make important city action impossible or ineffective.

December 3, 2009 at 2:02 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

like LVCI, i believe this park system can benefit from multiple critics, but we need not be on the same page. i applaud your concerns about jordan park. i will continue my campaign to preserve the wpa structures. i disagree with you about the trail network plan. with limited resources, it will only be a distraction from both our priorities. we all can be defenders of the parks, even with different agenda's.

December 3, 2009 at 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Big Jon said...

Got to agree with mm. How can the city do new trails when so much else, including 'old trails', the Lehigh Canal Tow Path & historic WPA stone steps are left to rot. Got to agree with Andrew, there is stuff at the creeks that can be done now,regardless of problems up the creek. One way or the other, with 17 layoffs, totally new projects,including new trails are clearly @%#@*# CRAZY. Plus those blacktop paths in the Rose Garden are so freaking butt fugly!!!

December 3, 2009 at 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen Big Jon.

December 3, 2009 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Ryan Kirschman said...

The Jordan Creek runs practically through my backyard and I've spent many of summers in and around the Jordan over the past 26 years. If it weren't for my neighbors house I would have a clear view of it.

That being said, from what I understand, local authorities have put a stop to further development in our neighborhood (+1 for them).

My point is, from reading an earlier comment on spring flooding, much more consideration needs to be given to further development in the Lehigh Valley. SO much of the issues that are being pointed out here are in some way related to irresponsible over-development and poor watershed management. Especially over the last 10 years thanks to the housing boom and economic development.

Around here it floods in late winter/early spring and completely dries up in summer (with the exception of this past summer in which we were hit hard by rain and cool weather)

Support proper watershed management and responsible development. Our lives depend on it...

December 16, 2009 at 9:28 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Hell yes Ryan.

December 16, 2009 at 10:03 AM  

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