County delivers $310,000 to Slatington
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Daniel McNeill, manager of regional partnerships; Kris Burek, Slatington Borough Council; Jason Breidinger, NOVA board of directors; Galen Freed, council; Walter Niedermeyer, mayor; Virginia Savage, coordinator and Laurie Moyer, grants and housing manager participated in the grant presentation.
Over the past two years Slatington Borough has received $940,565 from Lehigh County.
Don Cunningham, county executive, said it was good news he brought to the borough last week. Money is finally trickling down from the federal government.
Cunningham announced a community development block grant for $310,000 that was for repairs on West Washington, South Walnut, Fourth, Second and First streets. It will also cover a sanitary sewer project and construction of storm drains.
The $310,000 is a portion of $375,000 that the county received from the federal government to dispense. The remainder is going to Fountain Hill for road resurfacing.
"We're happy this has come through. You try to do everything yourself. You and the county are partners," Cunningham said.
He said the county gave Slatington more than $600,000 over the past two years for infrastructure improvements, including replacement of the sewer on Cherry, Railroad and Lehigh streets and replacement of the Trout Creek water main.
The Walnut Street Bridge was improved before it was used as part of the detour while the General Morgan bridge was replaced by PennDOT.
Streetscape amenities included banners for the Morgan bridge, refurbishing trash receptacles, an information kiosk at the trailhead and decorative plantings at the trailhead sign.
The borough received $8,000 from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to plant 34 trees on Main Street.
The most recent grant was to aid volunteer fire companies and NOVA - the Northern Valley volunteer emergency services.
NOVA is a regional partnership serving Slatington, Washington and North Whitehall.
On a smaller scale, Lehigh County also provided $250 to the Crime Watch program.
"I believe that investing in our communities by providing grant money to spruce up downtowns and improve infrastructure makes good financial sense," said Cunningham.
"A vibrant downtown district attracts new business customers and increases the tax base.
"These grants advance the sense of place, quality of life and safety of Slatington and the county as a whole. We must work together to improve our world one community at a time," said Cunningham.
He said Slatington is an important place though it is often ignored by the southern part of the county - a county that wants to work with the borough.
"We want to make Slatington a better community," he said.
Mayor Walter Niedermeyer said Jason Breidinger of Future Focus and Virginia Savage, a county coordinator, got the trees for Main Street. The last ones were planted two days earlier.
"We appreciate getting this lot (where the trailhead is located) for $1 a year rent. Hopefully the restroom will be finished by late November," he said. A small welcome center is also planned.
Breidinger, a member of the NOVA board of directors and the Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, said the ambulance service works on a budget of over $1 million. It is no longer all volunteer and paid personnel raise costs.
"The $21,000 is not just a line item. We thank you for help from the county. Your administration has done well for us," he said.
The $21,000 provided half the cost of upgrading equipment.
He said Virginia Savage was seen everywhere including Bridge Club meetings. The club was formed during the replacement of the Morgan bridge, not to play cards but to resolve problems caused by the construction. He thought Cunningham would be glad to know that a Venture group made up of many local organizations meets as the result of the Bridge Club.
"When you listen to the amount of interaction it makes it easier for us to support things," said Cunningham. He added that Slatington and Washington Township are getting stronger.
"There is no new revenue growth. We have to work collectively to get things done," he concluded.