“The Rose Garden is the centerpiece of West Bethlehem”

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Press Release from State Rep. Jeanne McNeill:

BETHLEHEM, Nov. 14 – State Rep. Jeanne McNeill, D-Lehigh, has announced that a $210,000 state grant has been awarded to the Rose Garden Park in Bethlehem to renovate the facility.

The Rose Garden Park is an eclectic park that has a play area and has a replica of the first home in Bethlehem and a Civil War monument. The garden features more than 100 variety of flowers.

“The Rose Garden is the centerpiece of West Bethlehem,” McNeill said.  “The park will undergo some improvements that all can enjoy including walking and biking paths, a picnic area, and additional shade in front of the bandshell for concertgoers.  I was very happy to work with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to secure the funding for this treasured park in my district.”

The grant was awarded through DCNR’s Community Conservation and Partnerships Program, which provides financial and technical assistance to local governments, river and trail organizations, and trusts, and other nonprofits for planning, acquisition and development of park, recreation, conservation and greenway project.


An email from the Mount Airy Neighborhood Association spreading the good news contained this litany of thanks:

Lots of thanks are needed for this wonderful support for our Rose Garden Project.
Thank you, Jeanne for getting this through the State.
Thank you to Amy Zanelli and Phil Armstrong in Lehigh County.
Thank you to Mayor Donchez and our City Council members who voted unanimously to give us $!00 k in matching funds so this project could go forward.
Thank you to Darlene Heller (City planner), Cindy Smith (former City arborist), Chris (from public works) for putting the details in the plans. And I’m sure there are others .



Gadfly election exercise

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Election Day Tuesday November 5!

You know how Gadfly feels about participation — BE THERE!

But, frankly, Gadfly, whose focus is narrowly on Bethlehem, is not the whirling dervish he was for the primary in May.

No mayoral election. No “real” Council election. No competition for these seats. No local  choices there to be made.

Yep, yep, other important races — my phone is blowing up, my mail box stuffed with flyers, my front door a bulletin board for canvassing candidates.

But Gadfly just doesn’t feel all that engaged.

What to do?

Gadfly reminds you that Council is a likely pool for mayoral candidates in the next election, and, in any event, current Council members are likely to want to keep going on in their positions.

So we should always be paying attention, always gathering information.

Let’s remember that the soon-to-be-automatically-elected Council members did a very remarkable thing for the primary (that “very” is redundant, dammit, you should know better, Gadfly).

Successful candidates Colon, Reynolds, Van Wirt, and Crampsie Smith wrote 8 mini-essays — one each week — in response to Gadfly prompts in the run-up to the election.

Well, unsuccessful candidates Carpenter and Saltzer — Gadfly hopes you remember them and their energetic efforts — did that same very remarkable thing too. Tip o’ the hat to them, for sure.

Gadfly is still humbled by that amazing totally voluntary cooperation.

The goal was to get beyond stump speeches and sound bites and to help voters be much better informed about candidate positions when it came time to vote.

And feedback indicated to Gadfly that followers appreciated the effort that the candidates put in.

So let’s remember those probably sweated-over mini-essays.

But let’s go a step further.

Let’s literally refresh ourselves on their words, see how we feel about them now, and let’s hold those successful City Council candidates to those words.

Say it. Mean it.

No coasting down Victory Lane.

So here’s what Gadfly is suggesting for an election exercise.

He will compile and re-publish the 8 mini-essays for each soon-to-be-elected running unopposed City Council candidate one at a time over the next 4 days, beginning today.

You have the recent 5-month context as a point of reference for these three incumbents re-elected: Colon, Reynolds, Van Wirt.

Followers know that the Gadfly blog has much information on these three incumbents from their activity on Council, and Gadfly has been urging you to pay attention.

You are not obliged to vote for all three on Tuesday.

If you like what an individual’s been doing, vote twice for him or her (just k-i-d-d-i-n-g!).

If you have some reservation on one or more, withhold your vote accordingly.

You are not obliged to vote for all three.

I’m sure the candidates will be looking at total numbers as well as numbers from specific wards and comparing them to projections in this “off” year.

You might be able to use your vote to send a message.

Either I like what you’re doing. Or — ha! — you’d better shape up.

Get the idea.

Make your vote or lack thereof count.

Make this “dead” local Council election interesting for you.


Mentally make the candidates still earn your vote.

Scrutinize again what they presented on Gadfly during primary time.

Alphabetical order.

Michael Colon coming up!

Election Day
Tuesday November 5

Thinking about the (next) election

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So there’s an election coming up in two weeks.

It’s an important one — judge, district attorney, controller, school board, etc., etc.

And Gadfly hopes you will make sure to vote.


But Gadfly’s not real excited about this one.

He focuses on Bethlehem, and there’s no opposition for City Council slots.

No way his energy and enthusiasm will match the 70+ posts you will remember he did on the primary.

Gadfly’s looking ahead already to the May 2021 primary.

The Hizzoner or Heroner (we haven’t had a woman) position of Mayor will be open.

And three Council slots (we haven’t had all women).

Gadfly wants the best possible candidates. Plural. Choice.

Candidates probably have to formally declare by February or March 2021.

15-16 months away.

They will be thinking about it earlier. Maybe even now.

Gadfly knows that his followers are intelligent, thoughtful, concerned, connected — and ever-growing in number.

He would like to suggest that the gadfly blog is a good place for potential candidates to start sharing ideas and visions.

Pass the word.

City Council meeting tomorrow night Tuesday October 15

Our next City Council meeting — the “face” of Bethlehem City government — occurs tomorrow night Tuesday, October 15, Town Hall, at 7PM.

This meeting is video-recorded and can be viewed LIVE or later at your convenience on the City’s website after the meeting at http://www.bethlehem-pa.gov > Quick Links > City Council Meeting Agendas and Documents.

The YouTube channel for live viewing is “City of Bethlehem Council.”

The City web site is inactive because the new version is still being aborn’d.

So find the agenda here: City Council Agenda 10 15 2019

Of interest to Gadfly followers will be a resolution to support plastic bag regulation. A post on this will follow.

As always, as long as he has flutter in his wings, Gadfly urges attending City Council live or virtually — one way or the other.