|This is part of the Camel's Hump Farm once owned by Bethlehem's first mayor, Archibald Johnston|
|Diane Rosencrance of Natural Lands Trust|
The Natural Lands Trust has increased that sum to over $800,000. "I feel the soul in this property," remarked the Trust's Diane Rosencrance.
|Instead of strip malls, Friends of Johnston want birdhouses|
What's at stake are 44 acres currently owned by the Central Moravian Church and the Leckonby Estate. This is next to other former Archibald Johnston properties that have already been preserved.
Johnston's granddaughter, Janet Housenick, conveyed 36 acres of Camel's Hump to Northampton County as the Archibald Johnston Conservation area. In her Will, she devised another 55 acres, including Johnston's mansion, to Bethlehem Township as a park. She also set aside $2 million for the Township to maintain the property.
|Leckonby barn a focal point for community farming|
It will also serve as a community garden and volunteer farm that will provide fresh produce to local food banks at no cost. This is another homage to Bethlehem's first mayor. During the Great Depression, capitalist Johnston formed the area's first cooperative farm, enabling families to stay in their homes and feed each other during the lean years.
|Former Exec John Stoffa Calls it Central Park of the LV|
Former Northampton County Executive John Stoffa, who joined Bastidas for this capital campaign kickoff, repeated his belief that this is nothing less than the creation of a Lehigh Valley Central Park.
State Senator Lisa Boscola, joined by State Representative Marcia Hahn, suggested tapping into casino funds as a possible source of revenue.
Of all the numerous funding projects on Bastidas' wishlist, the most critical is the $750,000 needed to complete this purchase. The "For Sale" signs on the property indicate that, instead of being preserved, this land could soon fall under a developer's bulldozer.
Also attending this kickoff were Bethlehem Township Commissioners' President Tom Nolan and Bethlehem City Council member Karen Dolan, whom Bastidas referred to as "my sister on the creek."
For more information, visit the Friends of Johnston.
|The "For Sale" sign indicates what will happen if funds cannot be raised|