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SHCIO officials divided over joining Lansford in project

Published July 30. 2010 05:00PM

The vice president of the Summit Hill Community Improvement Organization (SHCIO), Sharon Chapman, said she is opposed to joining with Lansford Alive and expending funds on a project that would be similar to what is known as the "Main Street Program."

Both Summit Hill and Lansford Borough Council gave their approvals to explore the project, which entails utilizing an unspent $26,000 grant that Lansford borough presently has and funds that would be provided by SHCIO.

Opposing this matter means she is going against the group's president, who is a proponent of the plan and one of the individuals working to have it instituted.

SHCIO will be meeting on Monday and discussing the matter.

It was originally reported that it was a Main Street Program, but SHCIO president Debra Ranck clarified that the program being proposed would follow the goals of the Main Street/Elm Street Program. A handout given to council was lableled "Joint Mini-Main Street/Elm Street Program."

Under the proposal, the available funds would be used to hire a manager to help preserve and strengthen the existing retail, local government, and business centers of the two communities.

Ranck stressed this is not a borough manager.

"One of the many tasks for the person hired is to find money to continue the program. I believe our citizens and businesses deserve to have planned growth, nice towns with streetscapes that rival Tamaqua's; parks with equipment & benches & landscaping like Whitehall - my home town, viable 'downtown' businesses, repair and restoration of the few remaining historic buildings in town including those on the historic Register, and a vision for the future that contains resident owned homes not far off landlords who only collect money until the homes fall apart," said Ranck.

She stressed that SHCIO would not deplete its treasury by participating in the program.

Chapman, in an e mail sent to SHCIO members, said, "I will not be able to attend Monday's meeting due a previous planned trip.(only the second meeting I will be missing) I would like to give my vote now-NO. It would be different if SHCIO would be utilizing left over grant money, but they are not. I cannot see depleting the money that others have worked so hard to maintain."

Ranck said, "It is not the 'Main street program' but using the main street model... main street is dead there is no money for the foreseeable future. As I said above we need to make our own future."

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