Students and Faculty have most likely noticed the red signs alongside Green Pond Road, William Penn Highway and Hecktown Road that have appeared in the last few weeks. Likewise, the hand drawn ducks with the same message have been popping up around campus. But what are these signs for? What threat is befalling Green Pond? Why should anyone care?
The Save Green Pond project formed originally after a project by PennDot in 2011 raised the surface of Green Pond Road by 8 inches. Although it resurfaced the rut-laden road, it caused more problems instead of less, including flooding.
According to a spokesperson at the Save Green Pond committee, it resulted in “creating a dam on the east side of Green Pond. This not only made driving on the road more dangerous during heavy rain…but it also prevented the Green Pond overflow water from replenishing Green Pond Marsh.” Additionally, it was at that point that “it became apparent that no one with authority in Bethlehem Township was concerned about the unique ecological treasure at Green Pond Marsh.”
Now the project has shifted gears. J.G. Petrucci Co., based in Hunterdon County, plans on working with Traditions of America to build a 314 home active adult community in the fields directly across from the pond, owned by Green Pond Country Club (GPCC). Local environmental groups including the Audubon Society have balked at the idea, raising concern that it would destroy the wetlands along with the wildlife living there. Resident animals include bufflehead ducks, American coots, barnacle goose, and Eastern Painted turtles.
Chelsea Grandin, with Save Green Pond, is appalled at the idea.
“I was quite upset to learn that GPCC owned the land and planned to sell to a developer rather than let a conservation organization purchase the property, as offered.”
The Bethlehem native signed on with the project in June after the signs began appearing along local roads.
However, despite the local outcry of resistance and the appearance of signs regarding it, the topic is of little knowledge to NCC members.
“What the hell?” was the first response from Bryan Velez, a business major. “Don’t we have enough of them?” He believes that destroying nature for human benefit is “very selfish”.
David Poulan in IT Services shared similar sentiment, suggesting that, “There are other areas for it and I think they can find another place to build.”
Other complaints deviated from the ecological point. Chelsea Bone, a general studies student doesn’t think it’s a good idea for logistical reasons as well as the wildlife.
“Flooding is an issue, and if it’s a migratory sport it’ll damage the ecosystem.”
Julian Costa, adjunct professor of Business Technology, also pointed out the street issue. “Green Pond Road is already congested between the college, Green Pond Country Club, and Moravian Academy, so [the homes] will make it worse. It could also potentially make flooding worse, because it gets rid of land to absorb excess rainwater.”
As it currently stands, Bethlehem Township has yet to fully sign-off on the project, although they have vocalized support for it against much of the resident’s complaints.
Neither Traditions of America or Bethlehem Township responded to requests for comment.