Sometimes it is very hard to decide what to keep and what to get rid of; what will be a collector's item and what will deteriorate to the point of worthlessness.

As individuals, we might have to make such decisions with an old toy, an item handed down through generations, or even a plate in a china closet.

Often the right decision is determined by your own preservation abilities. For example, you might have a newspaper from when President Kennedy was assassinated, but did you keep it in a place where it won't get yellow and brittle?

Lehighton borough has to come to a conclusion on the worthiness of an item on a much larger scale.

Presently located in the Community Grove is a bulky, octagonal structure. It was utilized for over 100 years as a judging stand at the former Carbon County Fair when the fair was held in Lehighton.

It is a rare item. There might not be any other like it.

It also is in very poor condition and it would take a lot of money to repair it. Then there's the location problem. To move it will be a monumental task. It doesn't belong at the Grove, a recreation site.

There were plans to move it into the lower park in downtown Lehighton. Would the park be a better place for it than the Community Grove?

A couple of months ago, the Lehighton Borough Council appeared to have given up on it. The council decided to either demolish it or find someone who would like to purchase the judging stand and move it. The council has now back-pedaled on that action.

John Drury of the Jim Thorpe Museum has entered the picture. He has informed the council he would like to organize a group of Lehighton residents to salvage the stand. He said the roof could be removed so the stand could be moved from the grove to the park.

The council has agreed to have Drury attend its next meeting and hear him out. Can Drury find enough volunteers to get this project accomplished? Will there be enough funding available to repair and move the stand?

The council is right in listening to what Mr. Drury has to say.

If the council gives Drury the opportunity to save the judging stand, it has to impose a realistic time limit on the project.

It's true that the town of Jim Thorpe has been successful in preserving its history and historical sites. This was accomplished, though, with a lot of government funding.

It's agreed that saving history is a good thing. The asterisk is: "when it's feasible."

The council should also look again at whether the downtown area is the proper place for this judging stand.

As it is now, the judging stand keeps deteriorating. At what point is it no longer worth salvaging? Is it at that point now? Maybe Drury will provide answers.

The July 25 meeting of Lehighton Borough Council will be interesting. The discussion at that meeting should point the council in the direction on whether there's enough interest in a piece of history to salvage it or scrap it.

Even some old battleships eventually are sunk when salvaging them is no longer an option.

Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com [1]