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Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission seeks funding

Published July 05. 2011 05:00PM

Members of the Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission discussed continuing repairs on the towpath in its meeting last Thursday.

The last high water event not only flooded the canal, but nearly caused water shutoffs to thousands of people when 80 feet of the water main became exposed after a break occurred.

Scott Everett from the Delaware and Lehigh National Corridor Commission noted that three benches and a picnic table were vandalized in the Weissport to Parryville section. He asked whether the canal commission had supplies for volunteers to build the benches and a handicapped accessible table.

Everett noted that the fence that was damaged by the high water event will be repaired by using concrete to secure the post.

Canal commission members discussed the lack of funding by the county and the small amount from municipalities to support maintenance and repairs.

The commission is still operating on a 10 cents per capita stipend that was initiated back in the early 1970s.

Several years ago, the commission sought to raise the per capita to $1 a resident, which would have provided a substantial amount of funds each year to continue the efforts to maintain the tow path.

"We need to ask the county to help us," said Dennis Bauchspies, chairman. "We should be asking about getting a portion of the hotel tax as the park fits into the tourist attraction category."

Bauchspies said that the commission also accepts donation memorials and is planning on opening an account to accept donation.

"The 10 cents per capita isn't enough," said Bauchspies. "It was never raised to reflect inflation."

Everett agreed that the county should be helping with tourist dollars.

"The hotel tax is one of our options," said Bauchspies.

Bauchspies also noted that the parking lot is once again free of potholes thanks to volunteers.

He also noted that the there will be a flagpole donated to the Lehigh Canal Commission by R.J. Walker. The flagpole will be constructed at the Weissport trail head.

Everett said Franklin Township has contributed the use of equipment to rebuild the towpath.

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