Monday, March 04, 2013

Housenick Park on Bethlehem Tp's Front Burner

Housenick Park
Two weeks ago, by a 3-2 vote, Bethlehem Township Commissioners refused to give their blessings to a group of citizens interested mostly in preserving the mansion once owned by Bethlehem's first Mayor, Archibald Johnston. It's located at Housenick Park, located off Christian Spring Road in one of the few remaining rural locations of the Township. Most of the Commissioners were unaware that they would be approached until they turned on their TVs to see Northampton County Controller Steve Barron, of all people, conduct a tour for Channel 69. According to the news account, "there are some who don't think it's worth it to keep the estate." This had to annoy Commissioners, who have adopted a mater plan precisely for that purpose.

Since that initial No, some Township Commissioners have been meeting individually with representatives of both this citizens group, as well as Executive John Stoffa. At tonight's meeting, Housenick Park is on the agenda as a "discussion" item.

Northampton County owns a conservation area adjacent to the park, and it's possible that both tracts could be combined. In addition to a $2 million trust to maintain the park, County open space money might soon be available to purchase some adjacent farmland owned by Central Moravian Church. According to some, that land is under agreement to Lou Pektor, but it is in a zoned conservation area.

Stoffa has claimed that what Mayor Johnston called Camel Hump Farm could very well become the Central Park of the Lehigh Valley. But two weeks ago, Commissioner signaled pretty strongly that they'll be making the calls. This is not out arrogance, but because they and the residents they represent are the ones holding the bag if the bottom falls out.

31 comments:

Tommy Chong said...

One idea might lease the Mansion to a company and have it serve as a Banquet Hall/Event Center, I doubt there will be a high demand for people to tour the building and over time it will consume the funds set aside for maintaining and upgrading the property. I think this property may be something to model the Housenick tract after despite it not being next to the Delaware river.

http://www.glenfoerd.org

Tommy Chong said...

The Glenn Foerd mansion is also on the National Register of Historic Places, not sure if this has been discussed for the Housenick House but would probably qualify. Another reason to lease the property to a caterer/banquet company would be to attract people in the area to the park that otherwise might not come, if it is simply an open house for tours I don't see there being a big demand.

From WIki

"The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.
The passage of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) in 1966 established the National Register and the process for adding properties to it. Of the more than one million properties on the National Register, 80,000 are listed individually. The remainder are contributing resources within historic districts. Each year approximately 30,000 properties are added to the National Register as part of districts or by individual listings."

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it that if dolan shows up she will be provided with a gag

Anonymous said...

Whatever and who cares. Instead of worrying about things that really matter in the Township they worry about an old house.

Anonymous said...

I'm Catholic. Am I welcome at the meeting if Dolan attends? We know how she feels about Catholics.

Anonymous said...

Catholics, Scientologists, Muslims...same thing, different name.

Anonymous said...

This is a good use for the open space money. The part that pector owns he wants to build a ton of crap on it when it is directly in a flood plain and would contribute to more flooding in downtown bethlehems historic district.

Bout time Stoffa does ANOTHER good thing, it's been 2 weeks you know?

Anonymous said...

To hell with the building! Do whatever it takes ( WHATEVER IT TAKES) and save those three pieces of land together.
This really could be the CENTRAL PARK of the Lehigh Valley for future generations.

Anonymous said...

Hey anon 5:52 am, see if they have one for Hudak too.

Anonymous said...

What could be more important for the township then pulling these three pieces of land together in one extraordinary park? Let's see if all the big players ( NorCo CMC & the township) can manage to work together and do the right thing.
Let's hope so.

Anonymous said...

Something's cooking. Deals are being made.

Anonymous said...

If the Central Moravian Church land is sold for development that area is ruined. Plain and simple.

Anonymous said...

So tonight they are going to have a dialogue. Hear from the public,etc.
Then they are going into the back room with the developers & CMC and cut their deals.
It's about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

Anonymous said...

Why now? What gives?

c said...

Preserve the whole friggin parcel.

Anonymous said...

This property would make a fabulous nature education center. As such, it could also be rented out for weddings and parties.

Any other use, especially those proposed by people with conflicts of interest and ties to developers and development deals should raise big red flags.

You and everyone you know should show up to the meeting tonight to support the preservation of this land and building.

This is truly a remarkable property, that must be saved. It is more significant environmentally than the Lehigh Parkway or the Wildlands Conservancy's Pool Wildlife Sanctuary.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe Catholics are welcome at this meeting.

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely NOT more significant than Allentowns Lehigh Parkway!
What an idiotic thing to say. A stupid comparison that serves no point.
That said - it is an important park of tremendous value to the entire region. Without the third link,the land now owned by Central Moravian in Historic Bethlehem, it's value is seriously compromised.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:41
Keep beating the anti-Catholic drum you small minded dull witted fool, in case we didn't get it the first time. Is this silly nonsense the best you can do to sabotage the development of this property? You make Dolan look like a genius you pin head.

Anonymous said...





Another Program!

Anonymous said...

Weddings and parties......... oh yes that will pay for the building!!!!!!!! WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With friends like these the Township commissioners who are questioning the restoration of this house don't have to make their own case. These goofballs make it for them.
I agree with people who say save the 3 parcels of land. FIRST THINGS FIRST.

Anonymous said...

6:12 your a fucking small minded tea bag jerk.Run off and watch Fox News.

Anonymous said...

.......and when your done watching Fox News, trot out your anti-catholic card again. What a jerk.

Anonymous said...

Hudak has his band of rocket scientists at work here again. What a quicked witted crew. Impressive.

Anonymous said...

Anybody feeling like bashing established religion might want to focus on Central Moravian Inc.
Selling out the Last Will and Testiment of a lifelong member,their own oft stated values, and the park. A three run homer!. It's all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$ for the sweet,history loving Central Moravians.
What would Jesus say if he came back tomorrow?
Do these people have any shame? Do they think people aren't watching?

Anonymous said...

SHOW TIME!

Anonymous said...

Again... who cares about this except for the few people that want to save the world and the Board in that Township. I am quite sure the taxpayers of the Township don't want to be responsible for this like they are with their taj mahal recreation center.

Agree... another program for those who think they know better than everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Yes, as a Township resident, I value this opportunity AND I welcome paying for the community center.

Now, to the Board, please allow DOGS in this park. It's not a park without dogs.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Here we go again.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"not sure if this has been discussed for the Housenick House but would probably qualify."

It has been discussed.

Anonymous said...

Hey 4:32. You might as well just start signing your post , victoria b. your tunnel vision comes out in every post you puke.