The beautification of Downtown Slatington continues, this time by virtue of a new sign and memorial plaque that greets visitors.

A new "Welcome to Slatington" sign and memorial plaque dedication were unveiled at a news conference held by Northern Lehigh Future Focus on Tuesday at Main and Railroad streets in Slatington.

The sign showcases the Gateway Improvement Project on the north side of the Slatington Trailhead, as well as a memorial plaque in honor of long time NLFF member/treasurer Les Glanz.

Dan Stevens, president of NLFF, noted how beautiful the weather conditions were to mark the occasion.

Borough Mayor Walter Niedermeyer offered the welcome, at which time he mentioned that the project was not quite complete.

Niedermeyer said illuminating the sign at night is the final aspect of the project, and should be completed later this summer, as NLFF and the borough are working with PPL to bring electric on-site to complete the project.

The Rev. Laura Stone, of United Presbyterian Church, Slatington, gave the benediction.

Virginia Savage, Manager of Main Street Initiatives, Lehigh County, who also serves with the Lehigh Valley Chamber Foundation, offered remarks.

Savage congratulated NLFF and the borough on the project.

"We're very happy to help fund projects like this," Savage said. "You've really done some great work here in Slatington."

Dale Freudenberger, Anthracite Regional Coordinator, Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, acknowledged how excited the D&L is to be a part of all community efforts and initiatives in the Lehigh Valley area.

Freudenberger said the occasion marked an opportunity to celebrate and commemorate the sign and plantings in memory of Glanz.

Glanz, Freudenberger said, was a "gentle giant of a man, and leader of your community."

Freudenberger noted that he worked with Glanz on a number of projects in the borough.

In addition to being a community leader, Freudenberger said Glanz was a great man and great friend.

He added that while Glanz "is not with us here today, he's with us in spirit. I think he will always be here with us."

Stevens said that Glanz recognized the importance of the Gateway Improvement Project, and would have been proud of the fact that so many entities worked together on it.

In what was a heartfelt moment, Cathi Glanz, the wife of Les, unveiled the Memorial Plaque.

Cathi thanked all those who made the planter a reality in memory of Les.

The project consisted of the manufacture and installation of the new sign, construction and installation of a slate planter, and the purchase of flowers, plants, soil and mulch for the planter.

Also, sidewalk and crosswalk improvements were made where the D&L Trail crosses Main Street, drainage and landscaping improvements to the area surrounding the sign and planter, and lighting to the sign.

Local civic organizations provided their own signs to be placed under the Welcome to Slatington Sign. The total cost of the project was in excess of $10,000.

The following entities were responsible for these specific portions of the project: Mel Mertz Signs, welcome sign; Steve Yavorski, of Yavorski Builders, Inc., slate planter; Slatington Woman's Club and NLFF, plantings, soil and mulch; Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, crosswalk and sidewalk improvements; and the Slatington Borough Crew, in kind labor for grass planting, sign installation, painting, drainage, and excavation.

Funding for the Gateway Improvement Project was provided by the following: Lehigh County (Streetscape Enhancement Grant), Welcome sign and planter; Lehigh Valley Chamber Foundation (Chamber Foundation Grant), welcome sign; D&L, sidewalk replacement, crosswalk improvements, planter and street signage; Northern Lehigh Future Focus, flowers, landscaping, soil, signs and memorial donations in memory of Les Glanz.

Northern Lehigh Future Focus is a Slatington-based community visioning group that serves the Northern Lehigh area.