WALKING PURCHASE PARK CLEANUP
When Cynthia Sopka, director of planning and zoning, joined Salisbury Township in 2008, a cleanup of Walking Purchase Park yielded hot tubs, household washers and dryers.
“It was massive,” Sopka said of the effort.
On April 30 volunteers from area Starbucks, Faith Church, in Trexlertown, Lehigh Valley Mountain Bikers and Salisbury Township returned to the park at the border of Salisbury Township and Allentown to again clear debris piled from the dumping of trash, debris and other materials. This year’s haul included a large sofa found on an embankment near railroad tracks in the park.
“It’s pathetic,” Karen El-Chaar, executive director of Friends of Allentown Parks, a nonprofit group working to help maintain local parks, said of the sofa.
Walking Purchase Park uniquely falls under the joint oversight of City of Allentown, Lehigh County and Salisbury Township.
Tom Valerio, district manager of Starbucks, said his team of volunteers included managers and assistant managers from South Mall, Saucon Valley, Reading, Stroudsburg, Airport Road and Easton, as well as their family members and friends. Volunteers unearthed cans of paint, boxes for flat screen televisions, bottles, a grill, oyster shells and a child’s scooter.
Elisabeth Morasco, of Bethlehem, a volunteer with Starbucks, said she found evidence of a house cleanup or renovation including a mop, brooms and older model televisions. Carpet and roof shingles also surfaced.
When a cleanup is announced dumping increases, according to Sopka.
She would like to improve monitoring of the park highlights of which include many tiny natural waterfalls, a Works Progress Administration era fountain and views of the Lehigh River.
“It’s a labor of love,” Sopka said of the cleanup effort.