Announcing The Allentown Parknership

New Allentown Parknership not-for-profit to boost city’s beloved parks and vital recreation programs

Allentown’s acclaimed parks system has a substantial new supporter.

The Allentown Parknership, an independent, community-driven not-for-profit organization, has been formed to collaborate with the City of Allentown to expand and enhance the city’s 44 parks and playgrounds and develop recreation programs that meet the community’s diverse needs.

The Allentown Parknership will encourage investment and involvement in the Allentown parks and recreation programs by developing partnerships with those who share a passion for the city’s parks. It will raise money, seek grants and undertake other fundraising activities. Funds will be used to realize the projects and initiatives identified in an upcoming comprehensive plan – a plan that will be developed in partnership with the City and its residents.

By complementing and augmenting the extraordinary park system of the City of Allentown, The Allentown Parknership will increase the capacity of the city to serve a community with diverse needs and find ways to improve equitable access to parks and programs.

“We are blessed to have wonderful park assets in Allentown as well as a dedicated team that cares for them,” said Jamie Musselman, one of the charter board members of The Allentown Parknership. “We will provide people, organizations and companies with an opportunity to express their passion and appreciation for our parks and helping us make already great parks even greater.”

The Allentown Parknership will focus on needs that are unmet in the department’s yearly budget, such as capital projects that could include new facilities or equipment, park enhancements and improvements, and restoration projects. It could also include programmatic needs like youth-centered environmental learning, activities at underutilized parks and programs targeting older residents and women. It will not assume any current responsibilities of the City or its employees, nor will it fund existing maintenance or and programs. The Parknership will not reduce the City’s budget or the excellent staff, rather it will enhance and add to the high-quality parks and their highly-valued staff.

“We will listen to voices in the community and have meaningful conversations about the needs of all Allentonians to identify projects and initiatives,” said Musselman. “This valuable input will allow us to identify potential donors whose priorities are aligned with the needs of the community and who agree that our parks are a resource for health, well-being and community-building.”

Musselman noted that The Allentown Parknership has already received its first donation: $75,000 from the Rider Pool Foundation to help fund start-up expenses. This generous grant adds to the more than $500,000 already invested by the Trexler Trust in this initiative. And The Allentown Parknership has completed its first contribution to the parks: more than $4,000 for 22 trees planted this April at Keck Park, Percy Ruhe Park, Roosevelt Playground, the Old Fairgrounds Playground, 9th and Jackson, and Mack Pool.

The public can make donations at allentownparknership.org/support.

Expanding up on a legacy of devotion to the parks

The City of Allentown has been collaborating with the Harry C. Trexler Trust since 2019 to explore the development of an organization that could augment the City’s parks and programs. Dozens of community interviews were conducted to discuss the need and feasibility of the organization.

The Trexler Trust also engaged some of the most accomplished parks and conservancy professionals nationwide to arrive at a model that would best support the City’s operation. The Trexler Trust has provided the guidance, management expertise and $500,000 in seed funding to bring the Allentown Parknership to life as an independent entity.

The Allentown Parknership builds on the legacy of General Harry C. Trexler, considered by many to be the Father of the Allentown Park System. Each year according to General Trexler’s will, one-third of the Trust’s giving is directed to city for the maintenance of Allentown’s parks and recreation programs.

Through the fall of 2024, The Allentown Parknership will recruit a board of directors, about two dozen volunteers who understand the needs of Allentown’s residents and represent a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints. The board’s executive committee will conduct a search for an executive director to manage the organization and raise the funds necessary to further increase the community value of the City’s park system.

Category: News Release