As we all know, warehouse proliferation and increased truck traffic are two of the Lehigh Valley's biggest problems. While they provide some jobs, they also destroy local roads, gobble up the time and resources of first responders and detract from our quality of life. There's little a county government can do to slow things down as it has no say in zoning matters. But one thing it can do is buy up land that would otherwise fall prey to land developers. That's precisely what Northampton County did last week. It agreed to purchase 112 acres along the south side of Route 329 in East Allen Tp for $2.69 million, or $24,000 an acre.
"Some of the views are phenomenal,." noted Parks Director Bryan Cope.
One of my objections to some open space projects is that it is money wasted buying swamps and cliffs. While these tracts are certainly environmentally sensitive, there is little danger that anyone is planning to build a warehouse on a swamp.
But this is land that could be developed for warehouses or a residential development. So preserving this land, which is located close to the Nor-Bath Trail and Wayne Grube Park, is an excellent use of county resources.
Some of this land has been farmed for generations, and that will continue.
Cope noted that, within the past two years, the county has been able to add two parks to its roster with just over 184 acres. Another 217 acres have been protected, both in rural areas and in more urban environments like Bethlehem and Easton.
Executives Lamont McClure, John Stoffa and Gerald E "Jerry" Seyfried all made open space a cornerstone of their administrations. John Stoffa actually ran on the very unpolitical promise to raise taxes to fund it. "They elected me anyway," he liked to quip.
McClure hailed Seyfried as the man who created "all the things we do today" with respect to open space.
McClure wants to name the Bear Swamp Archery Complex in Seyfried's honor.
"Oh great, they want to name a swamp after me,"is how Seyfried responded when Council member Ron Heckman informed him.