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Remember: Last Night’s City Council Meeting: Save The Parks

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Last Night’s City Council Meeting: Save The Parks

Alright, first things first – The Trail Network Study:

The plan was given the green light by City Council by a vote of 5 to 2.  Before you light a torch or grab a pitchfork, a very important and telling amendment was added.   Before I get to that though, I want to remind my readers that I have and always have supported this plan.

As long as each plan is up for public debate before any construction takes place.

And,

That the environmental issues plaguing our park system are addressed first or concurrently.

That said, Councilman Donovan introduced an amendment to the resolution that was edited brilliantly by Councilman Schweyer.  This amendment guarantees that before any construction takes place, an official public hearing is to take place.  Councilman Donovan made it abundantly clear that he was upset over the manner in which the Cedar Beach construction planning process was handled, and he vehemently criticized the work as it currently appears.  This amendment is the most important part of the trail plan’s passage.

This ensures that inclusive and rigorous public debate will take place each time a section is passed.  Before dismissing this amendment, the first part of the trail plan went for approval last evening.  The approval was to happen in order for the city to apply for the grant needed to fund the project.

Greg Weitzel, who supported the idea of public hearings, was immediately reminded by Councilman Schweyer that if the funding is secured, a public hearing will take place before anything else goes on.

Council President Mike D’Amore made it very clear that as a representative body of the voices of the citizens of Allentown, that such things were necessary.

City Council is doing this the right way and I congratulate them for it.

In addition, three grant approvals were passed by City Council last evening that will allow the city to apply for grant funding for a renovation of Stevens Park, an expansion of Jackson Street Park and the creation of a new park on a former PPL parking lot at 9th and Turner.  That last park is great news, and will add a sorely needed green space to a highly urbanized area.  Both Greg Weitzel and Mike D’Amore were very clear about the necessity of such projects and I very much support it.  

I am meeting with Greg Weitzel on Friday and I will hopefully be able to share the master plans for those new park developments on Remember afterwards; I will definitely get as much information as I can and share it with you right away. I certainly have alot of questions, we all do.  Feel free to leave me questions and I will try to get them answered during our meeting.

Following the intense debate of the Donovan amendment and the subsequent approval of the Schweyer edit, the public was allowed to speak their opinion regarding the project.  I spoke and because of the debate, I had to abandon the previously written statement because a lot of it was covered already. 

Flying by the seat of my pants, I told Council that there are serious environmental issues that need immediate attention in all of our parks right away.  I told them that before any work can be done on this Trail Plan that these issues need addressing. I mentioned the construction at Cedar Beach and told them that it is environmentally dangerous  I reminded them that the situation is dire across the entire system, and that we are in danger of losing our parks permanently.  Closing my statement, I extended an invitation to any councilmember to accompany me on a walk in any of our parks so that I could show them what was really going on. 

I extend that invitation to Council again today, and I also extend that invitation to anyone who has any kind of questions regarding the parks.

While no new resolution was passed to help achieve my goal of Saving The Parks, it is my belief that last night our City Council took a major step forward in the control of future park developments.  Public input is now guaranteed. If this is truly followed through, and I believe it will be, this was a great thing to happen to the public with regards to City Council.

What this amendment also does is makes sure we all stay involved.  When these drafts come to hearing we have to get our voices out there and make sure that the right things happen both aesthetically and environmentally. I will post every meeting, hearing or otherwise right here on Remember and if you need a ride, I will find you one. If we stay involved, and join or voices together, we can use these hearings to make sure that the parks are saved from the conditions they are in today.

As I said above, I will be meeting with Greg Weitzel on Friday and expect a full interview regarding Cedar Beach and the entire park system this weekend. (Hopefully including the details of the plans to fix the WPA steps by Fountain Park and in Irving Park.  Greg told Molovinsky that the work was to be done this year, we’ll see)

The work is just beginning.  We will save the parks. 

Before I go, last night I was appointed by City Council to the vacant seat on the Environmental Advisory Committee for the City of Allentown.  The vote was 7-0.  I want to thank Council for my approval and allowing me this great opportunity to start doing the work needed to be done.  Nothing I write on here will ever have anything to do with the EAC, I just wanted to let you folks know.  I am very excited and humbled by Council’s words and decision.

Save The Parks.

Labels:

26 Comments:

Blogger Katie Bee said...

When I get back to Allentown this summer, I look forward to going on a walk in a park with you. I need some environmental insight.

April 8, 2010 at 12:52 AM  
Blogger Andrew Kleiner said...

I have owed you a walk for some time Katie.

April 8, 2010 at 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,
We are very, very proud of you!
You are this city's future and we admire your courage and intelligence. You are bound to do well in your new found career.

April 8, 2010 at 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew Kleiner said...
I have owed you a walk for some time Katie.

April 8, 2010 1:29 AM


Andrew,
What are you doing up at 2 a.m. Go to bed.

April 8, 2010 at 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As long as each plan is up for public debate before any construction takes place."

Like the health care bill...

April 8, 2010 at 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I will be meeting with Greg Weitzel on Friday and expect a full interview regarding Cedar Beach and the entire park system this weekend."

Andrew,
Please discuss that row of trees
on Academy Road now covered in
boulders and rocks. These trees will die, Andrew. This road did not need this to be done. The speed limit is 20 MPH. No one needs to speed, not even the police!

April 8, 2010 at 8:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feel free to leave me questions and I will try to get them answered during our meeting.

Andrew,
The stone steps in Lehigh Parkway on the main roadway before the Robin Hood parking lot are deteriorating.

April 8, 2010 at 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a very confused young man.

April 8, 2010 at 9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy your asphalt, fool.

Enjoy your transparent government.

They really make you look silly.

April 8, 2010 at 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew,
What did Weitzel say about the Cedar Beach paved pathways per your photos being flooded and the silt flowing into the stream?

April 8, 2010 at 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Feel free to leave me questions and I will try to get them answered during our meeting.

Andrew,
Disc Golf in the Parkway.
There should be posted signs along this disc golf course
ordering players to cease all play while pedestrians pass. It is a disc golf rule. It is only a matter of time before a flying disc slams into the head of a parkgoer.

April 8, 2010 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand the fuss here. Mr. Weitzel, yet again, assured everyone that public debate and extensive public input WAS RECEIVED REGARDING ALL PHASES OF THE CEDAR BEACH PLANNING! So I guess City Council, Mr. Kleiner, Mr. Molavinsky and all the others who question that sorry "public process" are full of shit. Please respond to this comment Mr. Kleiner.

April 8, 2010 at 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrew, you can be sure that at your Friday meeting you will get nothing but the whole and complete truth. Just like you have in the past.

April 8, 2010 at 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The lot on 9th street is between chew and turner. I live across the street from it. Currently, the parking authority leases spaces by permit.

About a year ago, there was a planning meeting about this lot. Some neighbors are concerned that the removal of off-street parking will create a burden for on street parking. Most of the properties on that lot do not have off street parking. Personally, I have two spots, but I see the point.

I hope the balance between off-street parking needs and green space have been accounted for. Personally, I would love for nothing more than a big green space across the street from my home, but I am mindful of my neighbors who park there and have no other options.

Geoff

April 8, 2010 at 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Jos said...

congrats on your appointment Andrew- keep building up that tough skin as you get into the messy world of politics! Looks like some posters are already working on building it up for you... we all know how effective name calling is at getting your point across!

Public participation is a tricky thing. You have people who aren't interested in participating or who don't pay attention and then cry foul when they don't like what is going on. You can try to drag people out to talk, but they have to use their own legs. Its the same as people who complain about government but don't vote. If there is going to be a large public forum on it, I would be knocking on doors with flyers, get lots of press and news exposure to it, and document everything you can to make sure people don't say you never told them.

Good luck in your appointment!

April 8, 2010 at 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cedar Park is an absolute mess, ugly, really unsound planning in every way, a disgrace, the flood plain, the asphalt, really, really, really bad news--------------now; let's trust the very same people to start more "improvements " in other parks. Let us, once again, yet one more time, trust that the Park Director really wants, no really, really this time, really wants public involvement. Let's trust that City Council is really, really, this time really will provide some oversight. Not like the last time, or the time before that. This time I think the city is really, really,really going to be up front and honest with you Andrew. Not like last time and the time before that, and the time before that,etc. etc.

April 8, 2010 at 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Jos, you don't feel real good about"name calling". So,the balls in your court--- what name would you use to refer to the people who have done such a disgraceful job in Cedar Park and paved next to the creek and the Rose Garden and let muddy runoff flow into the stream and so forth and so on? What do you call public servants who claim to value public comment but time and time again do what they damn well please, even if it's clearly not based on thoughtful planning? Your on Jos.

April 8, 2010 at 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" Mr.Weitzel supports the idea of public hearings." SAY WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ??????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING !!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 8, 2010 at 5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep your chin up, as they say in the British Isles. Advance with the hope that you don't have a glass jaw; since your chin will be a target as you try to look above the messy confusion and find a clear space in which to think. Congratulations on becoming officially involved in the dirty, thankless, solitary world of trying to get something done. Don't be too disheartened. It's just Life.

Frank

April 8, 2010 at 6:43 PM  
Anonymous GEORGEZNEMETH said...

Always had a wonderful appreciation for Allentowns Parks. I hope that people will continue to enjoy the tranquility that is provided. I moved to Florida which also is pretty incredible, but the serenity of the Lehigh Valley park system is something which is wonderful in it's beauty. Keep it going on, Allentown!!!!!!!!

April 8, 2010 at 8:51 PM  
Anonymous GEORGEZNEMETH said...

What about the old water fountain on Constitution Drive. There's one piece of history that needs to be remembered!

April 8, 2010 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger Red-Hot American Justice said...

If you're going to leave acerbic comments, but can't be bothered to attach your name to them, you have zero business doing anything besides serving me fries. I don't even eat fries, so afterward, you could watch me throw them on the floor and yell obscenities to no one in particular.

In short, get bent.

April 9, 2010 at 12:39 AM  
Anonymous the observer said...

Its pretty easy to figure out which comments are left by Rolf Ohler who somehow manages to "forget" to sign his name to half his posts. I guess that only halfway counts as anonymity.

April 9, 2010 at 7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey "Observer",

It's OELER.

You obviously do not observe with a great deal of attention to close detail, do you?

Learn to spell correctly!

9:08 and 9:09 from yesterday are me. That would be it.

Don't fool yourself into thinking Molovinsky and I are the only ones in opposition.

(you college geniuses can't seem to spell "Molavinsky's name correctly, either)

Kleiner could verify which comments are mine with integrity if he felt like it but I would not hold my breath.

Kind of makes me wonder WHAT ELSE you guys GOT ALL WRONG?

Enjoy your asphalt and transparency.

Sure hope this project doesn't run out of money somewhere along the line...

April 9, 2010 at 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Red Hot American Justice,

Sorry to disappoint you, but I don't serve french fries.

Never did.

Never will.

You would be surprised what positions I have held in my day.

I bet YOU are the sucker who needs a job.

Acerbic is a pretty fancy word, though.

Therefore, I will give credit where credit is due.

April 9, 2010 at 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Jos said...

Anon-
I think you misunderstood me. The name calling I was referring to was someone who called the author of the blog a "fool"- among other names I can tell were written by the same commenter as this blog has progressed. I was simply saying that these types of comments - as rude as they are- would help Andrew to build the tough skin he needs to be involved in the political process.

What you talk about is a disgrace- absolutely agree.

April 11, 2010 at 9:00 PM  

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