At the Venture Group's meeting that was held Wednesday morning the group's charter members voted against proceeding with the Slate Heritage Trail Christmas lights project.

"Let's put it (the Christmas light project) on the back burner right now and focus on the building. Once we get some financial backing, we can look at it again," Gary Fedorcha said.

Pete Papay said that the group still needs to collect about $20,000 to $25,000 to finish off the building and the pavilion at the Slatington Trailhead. The plumbing, heating and electrical work have to be finished, and the carpenters have to do some work yet. Papay said that the costs are cut down to some extent because of donations and in-kind services.

"All we need now is some more warm weather," Papay said.

Scott Everett, who is the stewardship and trail manager of the Slatington Trailhead, proposed a landscaping project for the trailhead to the Venture Group. The project, which will be funded by the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor through state and federal funds, will include grading, landscaping, making the building ADA accessible, making the parking lot ADA compliable and erecting a gate at the entrance at Main Street to deter the circular traffic pattern at the trailhead. The degree of landscaping that will be done depends on how much the bid amounts for the project are. The anticipated bid date for the project is the end of February or early March.

"Getting it out by February is a little aggressive. We'll have to hammer out some of the details in the next few weeks," Everett said.

Papay said that that the trailhead is completely filled up with parking several times a year for various events. He pointed to Canal Days as an example. Papay suggested putting a row of additional parking right along the building and pavilion at Railroad Street. This area could be used for loading and unloading as well. The plans that Everett presented has this area covered with grass.

The Venture Group approved the plans. According to Everett, Slatington council and Lehigh County have also approved the project.

Jason Breidinger announced that the Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce decided to design this year's Christmas tree ornament off of the Slatington Trailhead. They will be sold for $15, and $5 from each sale will go directly to the trailhead project.

In other business, the group voted to accept Pen Tele Data's contract to make the trailhead a hot spot. According to Nancy Treskot, internet access will be free for Pen Tele Data and Blue Ridge customers, and people from out of town will be able to use it for an entire day for $5. She said that Pen Tele Data is also looking to make the old high school site at Main and Second streets in Slatington a hot spot as well.

Robert Berger said that the Northern Lehigh Community Center is still waiting to sit down with the bank and sign papers for the pending building project.

"As soon as we hear, we'll let the committee know and the community know," Berger said.

The next meeting of the Venture Group is scheduled for Feb. 17 at 8:30 a.m. in Slatington Borough Hall.