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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Friday, August 07, 2009

What Did the People Tell Allentown City Council

I thought I was well-prepared for Wednesday night's Allentown City Council meeting concerning Cedar Beach. I had my fancy new laptop and freh batteries in my flipcam. I got there early enough to grab a front row seat. But I forgot two things that are pretty damn essential to a writer - pen and paper. Fortunately, Lou Hershman lent me one of his quill pens, and Dr. Bob Romancheck actually gave me a clipboard. I tried to talk Romancheck into videotaping the meeting because my hands shake so much, but he wanted too much money.

Instead of posting actual video, which will slow this blog down, I'm posting links to some of the specific concerns expressed.

* Council member Michael Donovan, concerned about "process," suggests waiting for public comments until August 13.

* Council Prez Mike D'Amore resents implication he is trying to silence anyone.

* Blogger Michael Molovinsky chastises City Council for denying public right to speak earlier that evening, and explains his opposition to Cedar Beach plans.

* Michael Schware: It will be difficult to stop construction.

* Rose Garden Neighbor: There are legitimate public safety concerns associated with changes at Cedar Beach.

* What impact will Cedar Beach changes have on surrounding neighborhood?

* Stocker: I like kids. I like parks. I do not like this plan.

* Playground Advocate: Why here? Why not here?

* Donovan: "Destination playground" will only accommodate 200 - 250 children.

* Anybody consider the impact on a Class A trout stream?

* Rev. Erika Bickford: All of our parks should be handicapped-accessible.

* You're all NIMBYs.

* New plan belongs on city web page.

* Administration misinformed us.

* City refused to supply copy of plan or supporting information.

* Has anyone thought about runoff?


Anonymous said...

This is a better way of posting your videos.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Really? I thought people like seeing the actual video on the blog. The problem is that it slows things down.

Anonymous said...

EWill you be posting about the proposed layoffs in Northampton County.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am completely unfamiliar with any proposed layoffs. This is the first I've heard about it, so I suspect it's untrue. I will verify that tomorrow. All I know is that Stoffa wants department heads to cut 10% off their budgets.

Anonymous said...

Vacancies have been frozen. Needed jobs in Children and Youth willnot be filled.

Services are going to be severly curtailed but folks have been warned to not discuss it. As one Supervisor put it, the reporters don't come around here asking questions anymore.

Bernie O'Hare said...

This is a post about A-town. Comments about NC will be deleted, especially since they involve lies about layoffs. All that is going on is the voluntary furlough program I wrote about weeks ago. kock off the histrionics or go to a mental health clinic.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ironpigpen said...

Beautiful day today in Allentown

Great day to bulldoze a park or enact an economic embargo


LVCI said...

My Impressions..
* This is NOT an histrionics mob of knee jerkers

* Argument has been put forth the parks belong to everyone. If that be the case this is "their" neighborhood park. Much like the other 19 parks should reflect the character & needs in each of theirs. Is it so wrong that these homeowners have a say in their neighborhood too? BTW: I know there are a variety of ethnicities that own homes in this area. It's not just a bunch of 'Dutchies". Take a walk, you will see for yourself.

* I'm impressed none of these peoples approach in this deliberation played on human emotional prejudices that many of the proponents have. Proponents have been name calling using keywords like against the handicapped, elitists, old homees, NIMBYs, racists,etc.

* Will the park achieved the desired results in regards to increasing Allentown's much needed tax base? One has to ask if we wish to draw a potential home buyer looking to purchase a high priced (taxed) home within city limits... would they invest on busy crowded streets. Or would they locate to wide open streets with less pedestrian use like those to the West, where they won't be looked upon as rich racists elitists? I think we all know the answer given what's been happening for the past 25 years.

* It's a crime & a shame that Bernie has to film these. This should have been on cable access channels or at least on the city website or at least to Allentown's YouTube channel so the entire city could witness. This screwing around week after week is inexcusable at this point. A flip cam and upload it is all it takes.

If a zero budgeted private citizen can do this... isn't it a sad statement a city with all it's resources cannot? This despite the fact Allentown currently DOES have a YouTube channel & both the cable companies have already allocated bandwidth?

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

I apologize if this was already brought up, but the Cedar Beach issue is being discussed on several sites.

Here is my guess as to how this whole development transpired, and why the city is reluctant to make any changes.

There is NO doubt the entire stretch of park land, from St. Elmo westward to Cedar Crest Blvd. is the heart of most that is still good about Allentown. Thousands and thousands of citizens and visitors use the area either daily, or to enjoy special events like Mayfair, Sportsfest, Drum Corps International, Gay Pride, etc. The city MUST focus on this stretch.

Any effort to invest in this stretch is a good move. Yet, the city really doesn't have the money.

Solution, tap the Trexlet Trust. Explain to them why it's so important to invest there, tell them what you want to do and how much it will cost. Next, lobby them and keep your fingers crossed.

Alas, the Trexler Trust Board DOES agree to fund THIS specific initiative. It's only natural.

Now, the city's pitch to Trexler is being challenged by some citizens. The city is dismayed. Afterall they've got a willing funding agent, so why change anything? The city might look ungrateful and lose Trexler for future projects.

Here's the deal. . .

the city has someone (Trexler) "on the hook" for THIS investment, not something else.

As much as I'd like to see adaptions to other playgrounds throughout the city to accommodate the physically-challenged, investing in ALL public playground areas, that goal is NOT what Trexler bought into this time.

I certainly hope the next meeting to discuss the current plan includes someone from the Trexler Trust Board. That member can describe "Here is OUR vision, here is what WE feel appropriate to fund. Now then, if the city and its citizens wish to change what we already agreed upon, we can take a look at those changes and get back to you next year on your revised NEW proposal."

Make any sense?

michael molovinsky said...

retired teacher, sorry, it doesn't make sense, for the following reasons. the trexler trust is mandated to allot money to the park system, that is one of their main missions. this particular board is very connected with the administration; a former campaign manager, another is a huge fund raiser. at least two of the most dominating members are part of pawlowski's kitchen cabinet. our current park director's background is in recreation, and cedar park (the east side) is a major recreation area. this plan allows the venues to justify crossing ott st. and expand into the west side of that park. the playground got out of hand from a few advocates who found fertile ears to help justify the overall park strategy. these advocates should have been included in my posting called the perfect storm last month.
btw, i hope the band contest was successful and the city helped and the parking authority didn't prey.

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.


Thanks for your response. Please don't misunderstand me on this issue. The difficulty I see here is a mechanical one, not an emotional one.

Like you, I believe the current park area should remain pretty much as it is, but I think something ELSE is going on here.

I truly belive the city feels it was successful in garnering NEW funds from the Trexler Trust, and they don't want to do anything to upset that kind of participation.

As a matter of fact, one of my own efforts was successful in securing $100,000 from the Trexler Trust. I am grateful for that and their funding made a huge difference in the education of our kids. Through all of that, I did become knowledgeable about how the Trexler Trust works and who the key players are. In my case, I (obviously) believe they made a prudent decision that benefited thousands of kids.

Let me repeat, all (upfront) funding for the additions to Cedar Beach have been approved by the Trexler Trust. Evidently, what they saw was of interest to them, and something they felt comfortable funding. I applaud them for their decision.

Allentown NEEDS the Trexler Trust. When it sells the Trexler Trust on something, and the Trust buys into it, there is NO way the city wants to change anything!

What I'm saying is, Trexler Trust found value in what the city presented to them. The question becomes, will the Trexler Trust find more value in something different? If not, then what does that mean for FUTURE requests?

Yes, the Drum Corps International thing went fairly well. The Cedar Beach roadway was used for overflow bus parking, the performing kids did utilize the grassy space for warm-ups, and Allentown merchants did realize 2-3 million NEW dollars from the 20,000, or more, out of town vistors who came to Allentown to participate.

Truth be told, without even better support, that event is about to go elsewhere.

LVCI said...

The Mayor's latest Letter

Bernie O'Hare said...

Looks like a wealth of information has suddenly become public. Thanks so much for that link.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't SEIU beat these people up?

Allentown Democrat Voter

Anonymous said...

Retired teacher

The people on the board of the Trexler Trust are part of the problem here in Allentown.

Not afraid to write so.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Retired ASD teacher here.

Scott, here's where we differ.

The Trexler Trustees fund MANY "quality of life" ideas throughout Allentown. They respond to what is presented to them. In this instance (and my own) the Trexler Trustees answered the call to make something presented to them as a positive, a reality.

Thank you, Trexler Trust!

Like you, I have problems with the Cedar Beach design. But, until you, or I, agree to fund something different, then the situation is what it is.

I hold the Trexler Trust blameless in this situation.

Let's attack the design, not those who offered (and came through with) their support.

Anonymous said...

Retired Teacher,

The first commandment should always be do no harm. In this case they are therefore it is reasonable to hold them accountable.
The mere act of doling out money is not meritorious or charitable unless it is spent on something worthwhile and well thought out. Since that isn't the case here then again who can blame people for looking ascant at those charged to be stewards of the Generals Trust.

Scott Armstrong

Anonymous said...

Eye Witness:
Gota say your words are right on because we were in the back near Lou and yes, you did borrow a pencil but were real cute about it.

Anonymous said...

No where does the Mayor's letter to the public state tall grasses by stream will invite rodents. Nearby Rose Garden neighbor stated such at Wednesday night's meeting. Even conservationist conceded tall grasses invite snakes.

Anonymous said...

Several Trexler Trustees are of a retirement age and suspect do not visit city's parks. Perhaps some do not even live in city. That is one of the problems with this Cedar Beach plan because trustees have relied on information from a bias venue.
Someone posted a "new" undated letter from mayor on a site. Some may ask why the mayor did not send sample letter to 100s of nearby residents two years ago and host numerous informational meetings to seek and respect input. Some might say that. Others might say he could care less what anyone thinks and that is why he and his park assistant have tried to bulldoze in more than one way this project through.
It seems as if Trexler Trustees do not address issue of special needs park playground equipment that should be in all city's parks. This is unfortunate and hardly understandable as several trustees have spent careers caring for children.