City Parks Get 625K in Upgrades

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Jordan Creek Greenway and Stevens Community Park in the City of Allentown and Lehigh Mountain Park will benefit from a combined $625,000 in matching grants recently awarded from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The money comes from the Keystone Fund Community Conservation Partnerships Program administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).  The City of Allentown received one of the largest allotments of development grant awards in the state.

“The City is very pleased to receive this crucial funding,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski.  “It will help implement our development plans for Stevens Park, the regional Lehigh Mountain Park and our portion of the Jordan Creek Greenway.”

Lehigh Mountain Park is a regional park providing surrounding communities with a place to walk, hike, run, hunt and bike in a beautiful natural setting.  The park also contains an astounding diversity of native trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants as well as an exceptionally healthy, relatively undisturbed second growth forest.  The Department of Parks and Recreation partnered with Salisbury Township and Lehigh County to secure $25,000 to protect Lehigh Mountain Park from illegal dumping, unauthorized motor vehicle use and invasive plant species.  This project will assist in protecting the essential natural resources within the park, provide new identity, way finding and environmental education signage, and help to secure the future of this beautiful place for all residents and visitors of the Lehigh Valley.

Stevens Park is a unique pocket park located at the intersection of Tilghman and Sixth streets.  The park serves the core areas of north Allentown and downtown as well Seventh Street, Pratt Street, Fifth Street and Washington Street.  The opportunity to renovate this heavily-used park within this densely populated area of the City will provide multiple short and long-term individual, community, economic and environmental benefits.

Over the last several years, neighborhood residents, consultants, architects and city staff held multiple meetings to develop conceptual designs for the Stevens Community Park Project.  Installing a new playground and rubber safety surfacing in the area, increasing lighting and adding security cameras, building a new larger pavilion, adding a new basketball court, water fountain, game tables and landscaping are among the many enhancements proposed for the park.

The Jordan Creek Greenway trail project will complete a 2-mile segment of trail that will connect up to 30 existing city, county and township parks, two state game lands and two nationally significant greenways all while protecting significant green space in the heart of Allentown.  This project is part of the Jordan Creek Greenway Plan and the City’s active transportation plan, Connecting Our Community, which seeks to connect visitors and area residents to Allentown’s expansive park system through a network of pedestrian and bicycle trails.

According to Pawlowski, “The Greenway is an important part of our city-wide trail network that will establish safe, continuous corridors throughout the community and will help promote outdoor recreation, assist in fostering a culture of active living, facilitate non-motorized transportation and assist in marketing and promoting Allentown as a destination for trail users.”