About Me

My photo
Nazareth, Pa., United States

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Friends of Johnston Need Your Help

From the Friends of Johnston:

The Johnston Estate was the former country home of the first Mayor of Bethlehem and former Bethlehem Steel President, Archibald Johnston, and his descendants. This beautiful urban park contains not only a 23 room Mansion, but pathways connecting the nine different ecosystems and the Monocacy Creek. After years of effort the land is now on the verge of conservation! We need your help to secure the funding from Northampton County Council for acquisition of the Leckonby and Central Moravian Church lands to complete this iconic park for the benefit of our community. 

Natural Lands Trust, a highly skilled land conservation organization will own and manage the additional Leckonby and Central Moravian acreages.  NLT has applied to Northampton County Open Space Committee for funding for acquisition costs.

The Friends of Johnston is a group of citizens that have committed themselves to the preservation, restoration and sustainable reuse of this property for the good of all our community. 

WHAT IS THE VISION? The vision for the estate is that all of the parcels will function as one larger park even though they are under different ownership. That through collaboration with government agencies, businesses, schools and the community we will provide educational programming, stewardship, and fresh produce to those in need.

WHERE IS THE JOHNSTON ESTATE? The Johnston Estate is approximately 138 acres comprised of the 33 acre Archibald Johnston Conservation Area, the 55 acre janet Johnston Housenick and William D. Housenick Memorial Park, the 26 acre Central Moravian Church Spiritual Center and the 18 acre Leckonby Farm. located between Christian Spring Road,Rte 191, Santee Mill, and Township line roads in Bethlehem.

WHY DOES THIS PARK BENEFIT OUR COMMUNITY? The additional acreage will complete the park area,  and provide:
          buffer to the park 
          greater area for wildlife and recreational trails, 
          community garden space 
          storm water management
          eliminate the risk of development on the parcel
          Education- for all ages from preschool through college
          Programming- bird walks, history walks, gardening native plant walks 
HOW WILL WE PAY FOR THE LAND?  Northampton County Open Space is dedicated to preserving environmentally sensitive lands. The NorCo Open Space Committee has approved the funding of the projects at $520,000.00.  Understanding that the land owners have been offered much more for their properties by developers, Natural Lands Trust has made offers above the current guidelines. Therefore the County Council will have to approve a resolution in the Open Space Ordinance for this project. to increase the allocation to a total of $657,500.00  There is enough in the 2013  budget for this year to fund these projects.

                                                6:30 pm,  THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2013
                                       NORTHAMPTON COUNTY COURT HOUSE
                                                                  EASTON, PA

HOW MUCH WILL THE PARK COST AFTER IT IS ACQUIRED? There will be no additional cost to the tax payers. Natural Lands Trust Preserves are free and open to the public

           1) Get the word out- pass this email along 
           2) Write emails or call your council members ( FFlisser@northamptoncounty.org) and include the wording:
                     "I support the use of $657,500.00 of the Northampton County Open Space Funding for the 
                      acquisition of the Central Moravian Church and Leckonby Estate properties on the former 
                      Johnston Estate and request that the amendment to the Open Space Ordinance be passed at the 
                      December 5, 2013 Northampton County Council Meeting."

3) Come to the December 5, 2013 NorCo Council Meeting and bring your kids, friends and grandparents
4) Join the Friends of Johnston- share your time, talents or resources to help this worthy project! 



Anonymous said...

Steve Barron is their spokesman and spiritual leader. The "face" of the Project. What more do they need?

Anonymous said...

Are you a fool or a liar or both?

Anonymous said...

How about this, no more taxpayer dollars to fund so called open space!! Put that three quarters of a million into Gracedale or the Jail for much needed renovations. The County has funded way too much open land and farms. Let that friends group spend their own money if that land is in so desperate need of preserving. Or better yet let the Bethlehem Township millionaires pay to preserve that land. Its in their Township for God sakes! That Township seems to come with all kinds of bright ideas and then relies on people outside of their community to fund them. When is enough enough?

Signed, pissed off NORCO taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:55

Spend money on the prison? Is your wife, mother, father, brother or sister an inmate?

Anonymous said...

Well, shit, if we are going to collect taxes for ridiculous open space preservation, this seems like as good use as any for the money.

Anonymous said...

This area is pristine and beautiful and is worth the money. What we don't need is another developer munching up this gorgeous land and conservation area. The deceased members of the Johnston family wanted to keep this area unscathed and natural.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Most of this land is in Bethlehem City, not the Township. In addition to acting as a preserve and part, it will serve as a community garden for people. This land will help link up the Nort Bath and D&L trail. This land will mitigate flooding in bethlehem. It's a no brainer.

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of farmer's fields that have been up for sale and I don't mind another spot development once in a while, but the Johnston property is rather special and would make a great park and nature preserve.

Anonymous said...

A relatively small investment to create the Central Park of the Lehigh Valley?Absolutely, money well spent.

Anonymous said...

We have open space money and it has to be spent on open space. The voters should have come out and voted against this but it was too much trouble. Now we hear the complaints. I did not vote for this but unless Obama says no more money for open space and screw the vote, we have to abide by it. Of course he won't because he believes in this. Otherwise we might hear from him as he changes the rules as he goes along. We do not have that right or that power...

Anonymous said...

555.. generally speaking, it cost more to maintain roads and infrastructure of developed land than it does to preserve open space.

How much does it cost to repave 1 mile of roadway through a development?

Anonymous said...

Will it have the same crime rate as the real "Central Park"?

Silly rabbits.

Ovem Lupo Commitere said...

Imagine if Teddy Roosevelt, and others, didn't envision a national park system. Much of the natural landscape was being consumed by "progress."

Imagine if in the 1930s a combination of government investment and vision didn't create Bethlehem's Monocacy Park. Its a beautiful park, and used by many.

We tend to take for granted what we have without realizing that it took an earlier generation to have a sense of "what can be" to preserve slices of nature for posterity.

Whether one agrees or disagrees in hindsight, the fact is voters approved public funds to be dedicated for "open space."

I certainly hope County Council has enough vision to approve. They may be vilified by the Tea crowd, and they may be unknown to the next generation who will likely take a beautiful park for granted. But they will know they did the right thing for the big picture.

Anonymous said...

Develop NYC's Central Park---- it's a crime fighting,quality of life winner!!!!
Silly Rabbit.

Anonymous said...

New Yorkers hate Central Park, it's a well-known fact. LOL!

Anonymous said...

HOW MUCH WILL THE PARK COST AFTER IT IS ACQUIRED? There will be no additional cost to the tax payers. Natural Lands Trust Preserves are free and open to the public.

Is there really no additional cost? Upkeep, repairs, utilities, insurance, etc.

Are these costs coming from the taxpayers? Seriously. I'm asking because I don't know where that needed money comes from.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No. The cost of maintenance would be borne by the Natural Land Trust, not the taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

A relatively small investment to create the Central Park of the Lehigh Valley?Absolutely, money well spent.

I totally support this project.

But come on. The central park? Let me know when anyone but a handful of people can walk to this park.

The Central Park of the valley already exists - Trexler Park. And if that's not good enough, the Lehigh Parkway. Both heads and shoulders above any other area "park". And they both allow dogs!