Our friends at the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission tell us one-third of Nazareth's parkland has disappeared since 1970. Borough officials have reacted to this disturbing news by deciding to eliminate even more parkland. They want to erect a new municipal center in a residential neighborhood. They'll chew up about an acre of Nazareth Hall Park for borough offices and a shiny new police department. Police officers will respond to emergency calls by breezing by children playing pickle and freeze tag. I guess the kids will have to invent a new game - dodge the cop cars. When someone noted the potential danger to children, Councilman Samus shrugged it off, calling it a "weak argument".
Nazareth's Borough offices and police department are currently located in a historic building within their proposed Main Street District. In that location, borough officials could at least try to obtain some funding from the state's DCED for renovation. Grants are available for up to $250,000. Instead, borough officials have attempted no improvements at their current location for at least ten years, in what some call planned obsolescence. How likely is it that state officials would provide any funding for a government center in a park? Are they nuts? However this folly is financed, the cost will be borne exclusively by the Nazareth taxpayer.
Understandably, Nazareth's residents are quite upset. They've packed meeting halls, distributed fliers, and tonight plan to rally in the very park slated for partial extinction. They've circulated petitions, and will start presenting them to Borough Council, perhaps as early as tonight. Councilwoman Cindy Werner, an expansion opponent, will appear with me today on WGPA 1100 AM at 8 AM, and you can livestream or call in at 610-866-8074 and make your views known. I think the sentiments in one sign say it all - "Parks are for Kids, Not Buildings".