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Remember: Last Night's Meeting and Breaking Park News

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Last Night's Meeting and Breaking Park News

Before I get to the recap of last nights trail meeting, let me share some great news with you.

1. The Irving Park staircases which were created by the W.P.A as part of a design deemed “the park of the future” will be repaired this spring. Parks and Recreation Director Greg Weitzel guaranteed it. The steps have been in a sorry state for awhile now and it is exciting to know they will finally be fixed in the near future.

2. I have also been told by Mr. Weitzel that the invasive species epidemics in our parks, especially in Trout Creek Parkway will be addressed and attacked this summer. The issues at Jordan Park will also begin to be focused on. This news excites me even more than the step repair. The greatest issue facing the future of our parks is the poor environmental conditions some of them face and to hear that this problem is going to be gone after is reliving and wonderful.

Now, about that meeting…

Let me say first that I was incredibly pleased with the amount of people that came out to this latest public meeting. It is a great thing to see a citizenry involved in the planning process of something that has the potential to affect every Allentonian. The level of involvement needs to remain high. Each phase of trail development will go under public scrutiny at future meetings. If ever there is an issue you may have with any of this, stay tuned. There will be more chances for you to be involved.

I asked the developers about paved or unpaved trails. The developers were very clear regarding the Lehigh Parkway. The paths that are not paved there will not be paved. As far as future development goes, each trail will be decided on a one by one basis according to public opinion on the matter. Again, stay involved! Considering this is still a draft, there was no definite yes or no on this issue and I will continue advocating for the exact kind of trail needed for each particular construction.

I remain excited about the possibilities that this trail plan offers for the city of Allentown. I realize that there is still time before any of this happens but it is time that will allow for continued public input. It is my belief that this plan will in fact have beneficial economic consequences for the city of Allentown. It will do so by changing the face of our city. It will make us “greener”. It will bring our community together in a way that General Harry Trexler himself envisioned and called for. The trails will be a genuine destination that will introduce people to the greatest city park system in the state of Pennsylvania. It will encourage hiking and trail related businesses to open in the idle, barren warehouse landscape next to what will be a new park in Allentown, the Auburn Trails Hub.

Some trails available for viewing will open places in Allentown that should be a part of our park system and currently are not. These include, the rails to trail I called for last week alongside the Little Lehigh and perhaps most excitingly, a trail over the idle trestle bridge which I have posted about a few times on here and which is a resource sorely needed to be used in our park system. This system will also allow Allentown to join the growing network of trails across Pennsylvania and ultimately attach us to the greatest trail in the United States, The Appalachian Trail.

This also sets up the chance to actively, on a citywide level, begin to repair the growing disconnect between our modern culture and nature. We can set an example here in Allentown for other municipalities to follow. The developers seemed very focused on improving our urban street scape and encouraging journeys into our most important green spaces. In addition to the educational opportunity, this also will allow a greater volunteer involvement in our parks. Like the AT, it is my hope to see various groups in the city work on maintaining and caring for new trails.

Knowing that the city is actively preserving and conserving our parks at the current moment while working to take them to the next level in the future is encouraging and exciting. We are not dealing with a city administration that is blind to our past or dumb to our future. Things are heading in the right direction in our parks and I will be continually posting about the progress as things move along. I will hold our officials accountable for the work promised, and for the work needed.

Remember, stay involved.

By the way, the area of Riparian Buffer in Cedar Beach Parkway that I help plant and subsequently discovered paved over – will also be replanted.

You will see it all here when it happens. Cheers to the trail plan.



Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, in all due respect, let me say that you're excited about promises, yet NOT ONE problem you identified this year has been fixed. more so, you must realize that those area's have been ignored for several years, that's how they became problems. i will not go into details, however, last night several people were told different time frames for the same projects you mentioned. i think you should limit your enthusiasm to facts on the ground, instead of being told what you want to hear.

January 14, 2010 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger jody said...

that's funny,Molovinsky telling someone to know the facts before getting enthused about someting. funniest thing i've read all week.

January 14, 2010 at 8:12 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

jody, the toadies like to say that opposers are misinformed, it's a tactic. please be more specific.

January 14, 2010 at 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time will tell. Its good to see all the people concerned and good to see you are on it AK. GW has snoockered you a few times in the past. Everybody stay sharp,talk is cheap. Thanks to everyone AK,MM, DAN,MATT,BRIAN etc.

January 14, 2010 at 8:46 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

sorry to be replying a day late. neither i or my blog is republican. i do advocate for the historical park system, because frankly, it was much nicer than what we have now. what looks like a swamp at disc golf hole #1 by robin hood, is actually a beautiful stone lined spring pond, (as in rose gardens) which has been allowed to grow over.
andrew and i talked last evening after the meeting. i believe we agree to disagree. like his brother, i too appreciate this blog.
i will also post this comment on the current post

January 14, 2010 at 8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to thank both Kleiner and Molavinsky for staying on the job. You have both made important contributions. My hat is off to both gentlemen. I do not understand why anyone would attack either of them. Different styles,age,perspective,sometimes different opionions, both really love the city and the park and both work like dogs to inform a critical dialogue. Thank you both. As time goes on we will need you both. Please stay active and healthy. The parks need you both to inform and to make people think and question. God bless you.

January 14, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of this sounds pretty good, but how the heck does the city pay for this new trails work and do all the neglected things and do the ton of everyday work? The park staff is down 20 people. Thats 20,20,2 0. 10+10,that is 5 entire crews. What have people been told about funding and staffing. Even if it is all grant funded, how can the park workers take care of the day to day work? They are hurting now. Funding and staffing,how is this going to work? Help me here.

January 14, 2010 at 9:37 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...


I am excited about promises and I will be following up on all of it as everything goes down here.

Yes, we agree to disagree.

January 14, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting question.

January 14, 2010 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

The projects in Irving park and Trout Creek Parkway have been funded by grants obtained through the state. Once the invasives are really removed from TCP, maintenance costs will be lower as it will require less care because the city will no longer have to keep fighting it back.

The developers of the trail plan said that everything hinges on being able to acquire individual grants (state and federal) for each project; because of that nothing regarding the trail plan is yet set in stone. It is still a draft.

The developers also said that with the grants, they wanted to see more staff rehired to work on active maintenance.

Personally, I think this is a great opportunity for volunteer groups who have wanted to get invovled for a long time to help out and if this project means more paying jobs, than thank god.

Time will tell. Stay invovled.

January 14, 2010 at 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will start to believe these promises when all the Allentown parks staff that have been laid off, 17 people with families, plus the 3 positions zeroed out, are back to work. I want to see volunteers in the park as much as anyone, but who can blame the unions for reacting if volunteers are doing routine maintenance. Most of these workers care about the parks too. Think for one minute the position they are in and how they feel when all these promises are made.

January 14, 2010 at 11:56 AM  
Blogger ironpigpen said...

When the funding falls through because the government has no money for this --- get a hold of me.

My brother knows the Tooth Fairy.

January 14, 2010 at 1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The city can not pay for full time park positions with grants.

January 14, 2010 at 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting last night. I heard one offical say we will not pave in the Parkway, and then the next one back away and say it "would be addressed on a case by case basis." This, and the continued excuse of the ADA, leaves the door open to paving inside the parks. My serious concern, after the asphalt paving already done at the Mirror Ponds and along the banks of Cedar Creek, remains. I was not reassured last night. The draft report supports paving. This was not denied last night. This is not settled by a long shot.

January 14, 2010 at 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo! Did I read this right? Future development/asphalt trails ."each trail will be decided on a one to one basis ACCORDING TO PUBLIC OPINION ON THE MATTER." Based on whats popular? On who packs the most supporters in at a meeting? On set-up,fake surveys? Maybe on the ballot at election time? Andrew, how about these decisions are based on good stewardship of the parks, environment and the watershed? Your not at school to study whats most popular. Holy cow!

January 14, 2010 at 8:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Promises,promises. What about the promise that last nights meeting was about the public's input in the trails planning? I must have missed that last night.

January 14, 2010 at 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trails are going to happen!!! Way to go Fritz, Matt T., Greg, everyone. We made it happen, RIDE ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

January 14, 2010 at 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Allentown $3.2 Million In Red, Figures Show"

All governments at all levels are broke these days.


Good luck with the grants.

January 15, 2010 at 3:22 PM  

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