It's a fact that the economy stinks right now. Government grant money is getting scarce. Access to any grant money that is available is going to be harder to reach because the area is losing 28-year veterans in both the Pa. House of Representatives and the U.S. Congress.

Yet in Lehighton, there are three organizations which continue to strive for some major, necessary projects.

On Saturday, the Lehighton Fire Department formally unveiled intentions to construct a new firehouse which preliminary indications are cost $3-to-$5 million. Fire department officials admit grants are needed for the project to occur. But they're not fretting if the grants don't happen immediately. Officials of the fire company said the planning is still necessary so that they'll be ready when the next availability of government funding occurs.

Last week, the Lehighton Downtown Improvement Committee said it plans to make improvements to the parks located by the Municipal Building. The improvements were originally slated to be done with the assistance of grants, but that funding didn't happen.

So, the LDIC has decided to sell pavers and hold a downtown festival in July 2011 to raise money that might make park restoration possible. In addition, they are hoping to have organizations, churches, and maybe even businesses adopt plots in the park to plan flowers and then maintain.

Brenda Koons of the LDIC remarked, "If things go as planned, we will truly have a community park again."

The Lehighton Athletic Booster Club has told borough council members of plans to construct a new gym for basketball and other winter sports at Baer Memorial Park. Some club members boldly proclaimed they are ready to work on raising the funds needed for the building if grants aren't provided.

Perhaps the club members were emboldened by Lehighton Pool Pals and their success in getting the Lehighton Municipal Swimming Pool renovated by raising a substantial amount of money. True, grants were used for the project. The grants would not have materialized without the assistance of the Pool Pals raising quite a bit of money.

The above mentioned projects are all only in the planning stages. Only time will tell if they become reality.

But it's great that even in this dire economic climate, and an uncertain political climate, that individuals are still reaching for the stars and hoping.

It's such optimism that will see us through the recession and the turmoil that is evident in our nation's and state's capitols.

Anybody can wallow in woe. Successfully people look for ways out of difficult situations. From the dialogue we've heard, the Lehighton Fire Department, Lehighton Downtown Improvement Organization, and Lehighton Athletic Booster Club all have visualists at their helms. And this is a good thing.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com