Rookie Lehighton Borough Council member George Kogut, chairman of the council's public works and recreation committee, said last night he was impressed with all the town has to offer in recreation.

He said that as chairman, he had a discussion with recreation Director Thomas Evans and learned about the many recreation programs available.

He said the Baer Memorial Swimming Pool already has 100 new members for the 2012 swimming season and two improvements at the pool this year will be a new pavilion and the serving of soft ice cream.

He said the community center is heavily used, including mixed volleyball on Friday evenings.

"This town does have things going on," said Kogut.

"I'm hoping we can take this, use it as building blocks, and get the community more involved in recreation," he said to the council.

"If we can build on programs like the town has, you're going to see some real enthusiasm," Kogut said, adding that it might encourage more young people to remain here instead of moving away.

Other council members agreed with Kogut.

"I would like to see a way to increase the size of the rec center using grants," Councilman Scott Rehrig commented.

He said of space that is utilized, "We're full."

Council President Grant Hunsicker said there is room to add another gym onto the building.

Rehrig credited Evans for the success of the rec programs, stating, "Mr. Evans deserves some praise. He took recreation to a new level."

Hunsicker said presently no alcoholic beverages are permitted at the community center. He said Evans would like to see the policy amended to all people to bring their own beer for adult functions, such as wedding receptions.

He said he feels the borough is losing out on some revenue because individuals who might rent it, instead go other places where beer is allowed. He said many go to Jim Thorpe Memorial Hall.

One councilman said the Lehighton Pool Pals used another venue for a dance because beer wasn't permitted in the community center.

He said more money would have been raised to be used at the pool if the community center changed the policy.

Mayor Donald Rehrig and Councilman John Bird both had reservations about changing the policy.

Borough manager Nicole Tessitore said she will look into the feasibility of changing the policy, including whether insurance rates would change if beer was permitted there.