Carbon County is hoping to secure funding to help cover the costs of restroom facility improvements at Mauch Chunk Lake Park.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to apply for two grants, totaling $81,000 from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for redoing the bathroom facilities at Boat Launch B in the park. The county would contribute $9,000 for the project.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, explained that the county plans to replace the existing bathrooms, which are over 30 years old, with a double vault system that is handicap accessible. It will also include solar lights and fans; as well as stainless steel toilets.

"It will be more accommodating to the people who use the park," he said.

Carbon County has been completing numerous projects at Mauch Chunk Lake Park over the last few years, including building a new camp store, trail maintenance and more.

Mauch Chunk Lake Park has been a tourist attraction for decades, offering swimming, camping, and other recreational activities to many who visit Carbon County.

In other matters, the board voted 2-1 to release the money it approved to Jim Thorpe Police Department. The $8,000 that Jim Thorpe Police Department will receive will come from the county hotel tax fund and will cover added officer expenses the police department incurs during the four Fall Foliage Festival weekends in Jim Thorpe.

Commissioner Wayne Nothstein cast the sole "no" vote, because he said he felt that the hotel tax money fund was not the appropriate place to take the money from. He said that maybe the county should have looked at raising the parking fees by $1 those four weekends to cover the cost.

Commissioner Charles Getz said he disagrees with Nothstein because safety should be the main concern, not where the money is coming from.

"I don't think there is any conflict with us taking money from the hotel tax money to support these weekends," Getz said, adding that he would also support any other municipality who requests financial help for an event they are hosting.

Nothstein agreed, stating that safety should be a major concern but he still doesn't agree with where the money is coming from to help Jim Thorpe cover its extra police patrols during the festival.

O'Gurek said the county has a memo from the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau indicating that the bureau agrees that this is a justified expense for handling tourism and hotel tax money could be used.