Several milestones were reached at Wednesday night's meeting of the Walnutport Canal Association, including the installation of new officers and ways in which to make opening the WCA Heritage Center to the public a reality.
At their Jan. 15 meeting, members had made it clear that, due to the recent passing in late December of longtime president, Everett "Buddy" Kaul, they were not yet ready to choose new officers.
However at Wednesday's meeting, 1st Vice President Doug Boehrer kept returning to the subject, noting that a decision needed to be made that evening.
Member Jeanne Boehrer first asked whether 2nd Vice President Marilyn Kaul who, alongside Buddy, had served as an officer for many years, wished to remain vice president.
Marilyn, who had turned down the presidency in January, said she did. She also accepted the position of historian, a new position first recommended at last month's meeting.
Doug Boehrer, who had also declined to take over the presidency in January, was again nominated for it. This time, he accepted the position. It was also decided there was no longer a need for two vice presidents.
The two remaining officers chosen were Doneta Merkle as secretary and Tom Sidor as treasurer. Jim Evans and Vince Morris were also selected to serve as board of trustee members until 2018.
At the meeting's outset, visiting borough council representatives, President Matthew Newhard and Vice President Michael Gaston, noted they were in attendance in order to discuss ways in which the council could assist the association in getting its WCA Heritage Center re-permitted.
Newhard noted that though the center is owned by the WCA, it sits on public property and holds a permit for only storage and limited office use. Therefore, inviting the public into it on a regular basis in the future could create liability issues, particularly in regard to the need for a certain number of bathrooms and exit points.
However, he said he saw little reason why the building cannot be re-permitted and asked Boehrer to contact zoning and building code officer Sean Corey to discuss the specifics.
"We're willing to comply with anything we have to do to make it correct," said Boehrer.
"And we will gladly help," said Newhard.
In other news, the association announced it will have a booth at a history expo on April 5 at the Lehigh County Historical Society, will hold a "Canal Clean Up Day" on April 26, and is scheduling a "Spring Breakfast" fundraiser for May 4.
It also noted that memorial funds in honor of Buddy now exceed $2,500.