The idea of forming a Lansford-Summit Hill Community Partnership was discussed for quite a few months prior to things getting underway in late 2010. The partnership idea was to pool the resources of two local non-profit organizations and hire a part-time Community Projects Manager who would help both organizations plan and coordinate a variety of community improvement projects in Lansford and Summit Hill Boroughs.

The two organizations forming the new partnership were Lansford Alive, and Summit Hill Community Improvement Organization (SHCIO). The partnership is governed by seven directors, three from Lansford Alive and three from SHCIO, along with one director from the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor who also serves as chairman.

The directors of the LF-SH Community Partnership are Mark Sverchek, Chris Ondrus and David Benevy representing Lansford Alive organization, and Debra Ranck, and Michele Toniatti representing SHCIO. Harry Miller from Summit Hill retired several months ago and has not been replaced yet. Dale Freudenberger of the D&L Corridor serves as chairman.

In April of 2011, the partnership began searching for a part-time manager. After advertising and interviewing quite a few applicants, Sara Ruch of Summit Hill was hired as the Community Projects Manager for the partnership. Ruch has brought a lot of enthusiasm, energy, fresh ideas, dedication, and a positive attitude to the partnership and its projects. A business office was set up inside the Summit Hill Heritage Center and things got underway. Ruch works approximately 25 hours per week on a variety of community projects to improve both communities.

"Sara has proven to be the ideal candidate for this position and the partnership is very pleased with the progress and accomplishments we have achieved during our first year" said Dale Freudenberger, partnership chairman.

Some of the projects completed or underway in Summit Hill include planning for the Ludlow Park 100th Anniversary, installation of commemorative street banners, a revised and more professional looking historical tour brochure for the town, safety improvements at Ginder Stadium, grant writing, helping with the new community center, coordinating a new music festival for 2012, creating and distributing a community newsletter, assist with summer food program for children, and more.

Some of the projects completed or underway in Lansford include installation of a billboard near No. 9 Mine promoting Lansford businesses, conducted a real estate tour to showcase available properties, seeking and assisting new businesses (six new businesses to date and 11 new jobs), maintenance to street trees in the business district, Lansford Alive website upgrades, working to improve the appearance of vacant store windows, planting more trees, building partnerships, and more.

The Lansford-Summit Hill Community Partnership is now entering its second year of operations. The directors are very pleased with the results they have seen in both communities and look forward to many new projects and more achievements in our two towns. The partnership directors are discussing ways to continue funding our shared community projects manager position beyond the current two years funding.

If anyone is interested in helping us financially support our manager's position beyond 2013, or would like to just discuss other community project ideas, please contact us for more information. Ruch can be reached at (570) 645-7561 or via email at lshcpmanager@gmail.com.