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Remember: Save Our Parks: The First Step

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Save Our Parks: The First Step

Yesterday, I posted ideas.  Today, I am going to offer a strategy for moving forward.

The strategy I am proposing is a simple one. It is to take one step at a time, and those steps will be small steps.  The point is that we will be walking and after 30 years of standing still, a crawl would be better than nothing.

I make no assumptions regarding an epic sea change of idealism in the minds of every citizen of Allentown.  I do not expect the construction at Cedar Beach to stop. I do however expect to plant a seed.  It may be one, it may be a few.  I expect to begin the growth of a rain garden in the Parkway.  I expect to announce plans regarding that project in the coming days.

That’s it, that is our first step.

You cannot change the world in moments readers, and I certainly do not intend to.  I do mean to begin the long haul of slow progress and hard fought gains. I expect to encounter adversaries, road blocks and unending difficulties.

For now, I am focusing on a rain garden.

When the rain garden is planted, I will think about the next step.

I am asking all of you, whether you agree with me all the time or not, if you care about the future of the parks in Allentown, please take this step with me.  Even a small step can make a noise that everyone can hear.

Help me begin beginning and maybe, as one anonymous commenter suggested yesterday, one day the big ideas and big plans can be the next step.

Today, as Frank said yesterday, as CJ said yesterday, as Katie said, as Bucky said, “Go for it.”

We’re going.  Come along.  Give up a few hours of your time for this first project when I have the details ready. We’re going to go out there on days when it is hot or cold, on days you’d rather watch a baseball game or football game, on days when you would rather take it easy because easy is hard to come by, I am asking you to help me do the work that can and will begin to make a difference.  In the end, in a world of competing intentions, let these intentions be priority.  The city has to back us up on this before we can move forward as well.  The work is about to begin. 

I have emailed Greg Weitzel to ask about the feasibility of performing this first project.  I’ll post a response when i get one.

Seed by seed,
Save the Parks. 

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” –Abraham Lincoln

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30 Comments:

Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, i support you on the rain garden project, and there is no reason why weitzel won't either.(rain garden is the planting of absorbing plants in storm water basins and outlets) but i also advocate more response to the current event. although i agree perhaps nothing can be done about cedar park at this point, there is a lesson to be learned. cedar park demonstrates that constructing paths in an environmentally friendly way is not a criterion of this park administration. the trail network plan is nothing more than allowing more path makeovers and new paths in our parks and between them. despite the hopes of council to have more oversight on this plan than the previous approval, i would rather urge them to vote NO. only a no vote will provide the time and resources to address your concerns about invasive species, jordan pond stagnation, and other pressing needs that you have illustrated on this blog. A no vote will not stop the trail network plan. the vote is mostly symbolic, because currently the only grant deals with signs and outside of park street markings. that grant could be approved independent of the trail network plan.

March 24, 2010 at 6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looking forward to hearing the plans. I'll do my best to jump in and help.

geoff

March 24, 2010 at 8:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,
Some believe the destruction of open space at Cedar Beach will be restored, but it will take time and a large public outcry for this to happen.
There needs to be a sea change
at city hall and at the parks & recreation department for this to happen, but it can and often does. Just look at Bethlehem's Broad Street.

March 24, 2010 at 8:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,
Do you have a chance to go back and read comments from some of your prior posts? We just did and saw this. Maybe you might discuss?


Anonymous said...
Among your photos we believe is one of a row of trees leading to the Police Academy. Within the past few weeks these trees have had their trunks, roots, and the earth beneath covered with huge boulders, tons of stone and gravel
in what we perceive has been an attempt to widen the roadway at this particular site. One must ask how any tree can survive with huge boulders and stone and gravel covering its bark, tree trunks and roots. Lehigh Parkway's posted speed limit is
20 MPH. Even if two police officers driving from different directions came upon each other, this 20 MPH speed would allow each driver to slow down or stop without incident. This same methodology of expanding a road's width has been completed further up on the right hand side of the bridle path past the Academy going towards the city's credit union. Can trees live when they are treated like this! Andrew, we welcome your thoughts.

March 23, 2010 8:08 AM

March 24, 2010 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,
When you're ready to do the water basin planting, we're in.

March 24, 2010 at 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
friends of the parks just sent out flyers for a flowerbed program you must be on the same page. in my past experience the local garden centers are unable to donate plants. the big box stores will donate the plants but you don't get that same quality of native plant selection.

March 23, 2010 8:04 AM


Andrew,
The Wildlands Conservancy has a big spring plant sale each year. Maybe they will donate towards this worthy local community park project.

March 24, 2010 at 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Andrew,
Your photo with this caption "Here, in another low lying swath of open grass, a perfect setting for a naturally occurring wetland goes to waste."
exposes the barren land where once a grassy meadow stood destroyed by the constant use as a shortcut by city trucks.
Perhaps you would consider writing about this issue in the future?

March 23, 2010 4:25 PM

March 24, 2010 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

To the new anons who requested I chime in on things:

Sorry I missed those questions. Check back tomorrow, I'll have a post dedicated to them.

March 24, 2010 at 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Folks,
It's important to remember that all park projects or lack thereof are at the direct orders of the park director.

March 24, 2010 at 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Make the project on the weekend!

March 24, 2010 at 10:06 AM  
Anonymous Gregg Heilman said...

Having lived in the Lehigh Valley all my life, 62 years, I can say I grew up in our city parks.

Many a Saturday a group of us would hike from center city out to the Fish Hatchery and back.

We would pack some hot dogs and other easy fixings and made a GREAT day of it.

I really began to truly appreciate what we had here when a man I worked with who moved here from another state. He said, "Gregg we had NO parks in our former home. There was NOTHING for families or kids to enjoy."

He went on to say we must treasure and protect what we have been blessed with here in Allentown and the Valley.

It isn't a plant or animal that is destroying our parks. It has been politicians and their polices of destruction.

Many of these politicians actually believe when they are elected they instantly become experts on life and all aspects of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

They need to do an internship first, to learn and know the people and places they brought themselves here to rule over or lead.

Why do they come so far to be elected to a position of power in a state far from their original place called home? Probably because they failed there and now we are stuck with their failures here.

Several of these former leaders? etc left the area as soon as they did their damage. Then it is for the people who have called this place home to try to repair the damages left behind by these Self Proclaimed Experts.

If a suggestion can really improve our city and parks then lets take a serious look at it because it is of value.

But if the suggestion is from another self serving politician looking to get his name of a brass plaque, I say NUTS!

March 24, 2010 at 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,
We just came back from our morning walk in the Parkway. We happened to walk past the Road Runner's clubhouse. The tree bank someone wrote about is just
up the hillside. We saw the rocks and boulders and grey stone covering everything. We can't imagine these trees can live much longer like this.

March 24, 2010 at 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,
We're in for the garden project. Perhaps you might borrow a few golf carts to get equipment down to that drain location. It's
a bit out of the way and only city crews are allowed to drive vehicles on the bridle paths.

March 24, 2010 at 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those will die slowly.

March 24, 2010 at 1:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Those will die slowly.

March 24, 2010 1:48 PM


We suspect this comment is referring to the trees someone wrote about covered in stone. We haven't visited this park in a while but now will.
If this is true no matter how these trees are set to die, why would someone do this?
Sure hope Andrew can uncover what's going on and perhaps embarrass the city into restoring the area to its original state.

March 24, 2010 at 2:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We think you should finish what you started first, and make sure the buffer zone at Cedar Creek is done right, before going off into rain gardens in the Parkway. That buffer zone, as it now stands, is less than a joke.

March 24, 2010 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Katie Bee said...

Anon 12:55 I expect a well-saddled bicycle can transport a lot of the equipment!

March 24, 2010 at 2:25 PM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Anon 2:33,

The plants we put in last year are only beginning to grow now. I was a volunteer on that project which was spearheaded by Wildlands.

March 24, 2010 at 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 2:23 - Regardless of whether Andrew is able to dedicate his time as a volunteer again this Spring, the buffer project will continue and be expanded this Spring and Fall via the Wildlands Conservancy.

I don't think that the intent of that comment was hostile, but I do think its important to distinguish between the riparian buffer instillation, which Wildlands has a paid contract to complete and is leveraging volunteers to assist and an all-volunteer project which Andrew or any other volunteer group decides to undertake with the City's cooperation.

March 24, 2010 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

anon 5:08 pm. considering my first comment was about 12 hours ago, let me leave this post by simply saying there is a 800 lb. gorilla in the room, or should i say a 8 ton bulldozer. plants by the wildlands or andrew don't mean that much when you ignore the bulldozer paving by the stream.

March 24, 2010 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woo Hoo!

Go Bulldozers!

March 24, 2010 at 7:17 PM  
Blogger Katie Bee said...

Molovinsky, obviously you and Andrew have done what you can about that bulldozer. You've written posts, gone to public meetings, and been in contact with Weitzel and City Council about it. You can only beat a dead horse for so long before realizing it's not the best method of moving forward.

Rain gardens as the first step are an attempt to counterbalance that paving. A mature garden just might be able to capture the rainwater runoff from those paths, and the rain gardens combined with everything else Andrew has in mind certainly will counteract the Parks Department's idea of progress.

It seems that it would be more useful to do succeed with a small project to build up support (rain gardens) for the big response to the current event. You and Andrew have been doing what you can for a while, now it's time for everyone to put a group effort toward it.

March 24, 2010 at 8:17 PM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

katie bee, i disagree. although andrew has recognized the city's culpability in a couple posts, he has yet to speak out against it at city council. furthermore, and more important, the vote for the trail network plan has not yet occurred. although there are a couple of storm runoff sites in the park, there are miles of paths. although i was trying to be polite, which you're not, andrew is only putting the proverbial finger in the dike. one seed at a time doesn't make it against a bulldozer. he has developed a voice, but for what ever reason, he has decided not to use it.

March 25, 2010 at 4:44 AM  
Blogger Katie Bee said...

Mike, I don't understand. How is this call to action "not using his voice"? You, too, have developed a voice and used it at council meetings and what has that done? I stand by my previous statement, we have to try something different.

March 25, 2010 at 10:13 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

Katie,

If you look at Mike's blog today, you'll see he has implied that everything on here is part of a "babblesphere". He has made it clear that unless you, me and whoever else does exactly what he thinks should be done, we aren't doing enough.

No use in trying to argue with someone coming from that point of view.

March 25, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

katie, if redoing the paths in one park (cedar park) is causing so much damage, imagine what the trail network plan will do to the entire park system. i discount discussion at a committee meeting about inputing step by step. i have been observing council and administrations for decades, it doesn't work that way. once the plan is approved, the horse is out of the gate, and it's old news. i also don't think a rain garden or two mitigates the damage from this plan. the vote is april 7th, that is the time to speak out. the rain garden should be in addition to speaking out, not instead.

March 25, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, the term "babblesphere" is not meant to demean your blog or you. you have made an amazing contribution to the park discussion and unparalleled documentation of the parks and problems within. i admit pushing you to "speak out", but only because i'm impressed with the influence you have earned in such a short time.

March 25, 2010 at 10:58 AM  
Blogger michael molovinsky said...

andrew, let me elaborate some more. my post on the "babblesphere", links to three blogs, yours, chen art blog and MINE. the only "babble" is from BV posting as anonymous, then as hershwhine on my post.

March 25, 2010 at 11:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"THERE IS NO SENSE PUTTING A BANDAID ON A BULLET WOUND! " Quote by Andrew Kleiner Forget the rain garden, there are bullet wounds to address!

March 25, 2010 at 1:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wildlands{ poor buffer zone planning and silence about Cedar Beach and South Mt.} is in it for the money. They are part of the problem. Friends of Allentowns Parks ------ with friends like these the parks don't need enemies. What do they do? What are they protecting? Where are they? Flower planting? This is real joke. Keep at it Andrew, it will turn around.

March 26, 2010 at 1:25 PM  

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