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Remember: It's a Plan: City Council Trail Presentation

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's a Plan: City Council Trail Presentation

The Greenways presentation was little changed from the debut of the draft plan at the last public meeting in January. What was different this time was that the plan was debuted to city council and the members asked questions about it. Each councilperson asked at least one question or made at least one comment. Councilman Donovan vocalized that he wanted to make sure every detail about this plan was debated and considered before implementation, to avoid a repeat of the miscommunications that led to the issues over the Cedar Beach Parkway renovations.

What, in my opinion, was the most important commentary came from Councilman Schweyer:
“ The city needs a vision.”

Councilman Schweyer is correct. As the council ended their questioning, they opened the floor to public comment. Randy Faye, a recently retired park employee called upon city council to remember that our park system exists the way it does because of a financial crisis that is not dissimilar from the one we find ourselves in today. A gentleman named Joe living near to Trexler Park voiced his support and echoed the sentiments of councilman Schweyer.

Of all the folks who made their opinions known last night (even I got in on the action), Dr. David McGuire brought the house down with an informed commentary and a familiar handout. Dr. McGuire stated that he supported the plan and the goals of the plan but he was concerned about the “location of paths” and the “composition of trails”. Dr. McGuire stated adamantly that there should be “no trails in floodplains” and that “paved trails should be an extreme alternative”. He then passed out the DCNR guidelines that I shared on Remember a few weeks ago. (See them here)

What Dr. Mcguire’s statements brought to the forefront was that not only is this a plan but that it is not an all or nothing issue. As the plan is implemented, if funding is secured, each phase will be brought before city council with a public input session before they are completed. The point of city council passing the resolution is to show that Allentown has an eye to the future.

I obviously share the sentiments of Dr. McGuire.

I also feel, and I told city council this last evening, that this plan will bring new business to the city and will begin to alter our image. I am 26 years old, and as a lifelong resident of Allentown I can say easily that most people my age have moved to Bethlehem or Philly and Allentown has not yet given them a reason to stay. Let’s give people a reason to stay.

I will attend every public meeting and information sessions about this plan as it moves forward (pending final passage on March 3rd) and I will share the dates on here. There are still issues and questions that I have with the plan as I am sure many of you do too. I am looking forward to engaging in a dialogue of progress and change.

Now, we have to get working on Trout Creek Parkway and Jordan Park. More to come…

Update: Had to change my wording thanks to a heads up from councilman Donovan.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Katie Bee said...

As far as a college student's perspective is concerned, I know that bicycles are a status symbol here. And I'm not talking about racing bikes or the "spandex clad army." I'm talking about upright comfort bicycles with baskets and panniers and old-fashioned bells. These bikes can't physically go very fast, and are primarily used as a means of transportation, not strictly exercise. Bike trails that can be used in the warmer months attract students (especially Muhlenberg students who constantly complain of nothing better to do, like my cousin who is a freshmen there now).

And, let me tell you, these college kids have money. Well, most of them. It seems logical that where they go, their money follows, so why not to the parks? A pathway through picturesque scenery could add a positive spin to the image most prospective students get when their gps tells their family to drive down route 145 and they find themselves on Hamilton street and say "nuh-uh. this place is terrifying."

Also, Andrew, can you elaborate on the conditions of the parks that are, according to Randy Faye, in existence as a result of the previous financial crisis? I was not at the meeting and wanna know where I can get more information on this.

February 18, 2010 at 1:53 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Katie,

Randy was talking about the WPA projects.

February 18, 2010 at 8:44 AM  
Blogger Katie Bee said...

Oh. Yeah. Thanks.

February 18, 2010 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger Michael Donovan said...

Andy,

We did not yet "approve" the resolution. Procedurally, we passed it on to a final vote. Last night we were acting as a committee (under normal circumstances only members of the park committee would have been at the meeting).

Thus, at our next regular council meeting, the resolution will receive final vote.

It is a procedural matter, but I think it needs to be made clear.

Best regards,

Michael Donovan

February 18, 2010 at 10:31 AM  

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