Kudos to Lehighton Borough Manager Nicole Tessitore, who this week told her borough council that the time has come to stop talking about what's going to happen to an historic fair judging stand and instead make a move to do something.
The judging stand, a wooden, octogon structure with a domed top, became abandoned when the former Carbon County Fair in Lehighton was stopped around 1993.
The stand was first moved to the parking lot of an auto dealer then, a few years ago, was moved to the Lehighton Community Grove when the dealership was sold.
Initial plans were to restore the structure and move it to the downtown park.
Progress wasn't occuring so at one point the borough council was going to "get rid" of it.
John Drury of Jim Thorpe got involved and said if the stand is moved to the park, community interest might increase, allowing for funds to be raised to repair the stand.
It is estimated the repairs will cost $60,000. The borough has a grant worth $20,000 for making repairs. Tessitore said while discussion drags on, the deadline is fast approaching to either use the grant or lose it.
Council President Grant Hunsicker suggested that a committee of the council investigate the feasibility of repairing the stand. He and Councilman Scott Hunsicker were appointed to the committee.
Hunsicker suggested that perhaps the stand should stay at the Community Grove.
We agree. At least right now, the stand in its present condition wouldn't do justice to the beautification efforts undertaken by the Lehighton Downtown Innitiative Committee.
Perhaps bidding should occur ASAP to determine if the borough is financially capable of doing such a restoration project.
We're glad to see Beckett take a leadership role in the matter. Otherwise, the clock will keep ticking down and time will run out on using the grant money.
We understand the judging stand is one of only two of its kind in the nation. With that kind of rarity, preserving it as a part of our local history is important.
Cost is the first factor that must be considered to determine if the stand is worth saving. If the $20,000 grant is lost, that will be a major project setback.
It's time to take some immediate action on the judging stand.
By Ron Gower