Officials from 6 municipalities share at Chamber of Commerce gathering
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Among those on hand for the joint luncheon meeting between the Palmerton Chamber of Commerce and Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce were (l-r) Jason Breidinger, president, GNLCC, Ken Nicholson, zoning code enforcement officer, North Whitehall Township, Michael Wentz, grant coordinator, Walnutport Borough, Ellie Passman-Hock, Lehigh Valley Chamber, Annette Lacko, secretary, Walnutport Borough, Walter Niedermeyer, mayor, Slatington Borough, Rodger Danielson, Palmerton Borough Manager, Alice Rehrig, Lehigh Township Manager/secretary/treasurer, Gerald Phillips, supervisor, Washington Township, and Peter Kern, president, Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Changes that affect one municipality can have a trickle-down effect on its neighbors.
It is with that very thought in mind that a joint luncheon was held between the Palmerton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce Tuesday at the American Legion, Allen O. Delke post -16, in Slatington.
At that time, representatives from six municipalities - Palmerton Borough, Slatington Borough, Walnutport Borough, Washington Township, Lehigh Township and North Whitehall Township - gathered to provide municipal updates on future projects.
Jason Breidinger, president of the GNLCC, announced that the GNLCC will hold its Annual Heritage Day Celebration at 10 a.m. July 4 at Slatington Baptist Church, 509 Main Street, as well as its 5th Annual Member Appreciation Picnic from 5:30-8 p.m. July 13 at the Walnutport Canal Park Pavilion.
Peter Kern, president of the PACC, said he had been a previous member of the then-Slatington/Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce in the early 1990s.
"It appears your attendance has grown," Kern said. "We want to express our appreciation from Palmerton."
Kern then announced that the PACC will hold its Palmerton Centennial Kick-Off on Sept. 20 at the Blue Ridge Country Club in Palmerton.
Breidinger then thanked Palmerton "for doing this joint effort with us."
Alice Rehrig, Lehigh Township Manager, secretary, treasurer, said there has been no new development in his municipality, though there are several approved developments in the works.
"Our real estate transfers continue to decline," Rehrig said. "There's also been a decline in property maintenance."
Rehrig said the township recently received a $21,000 grant from the state Department of Transportation for a project to install lights that figures to save the township between $4,500 to $7,000 a year.
Ken Nicholson, zoning code enforcement officer, North Whitehall Township, was next on the list.
Nicholson said there are 105 vacant lost available for building, and added that Weis Markets along Route 873 is considering adding gas pumps
"We have two permits for new single family homes," Nicholson said. "There are about 11 homes under construction, which is really down."
Nicholson said a townhouse meeting would be held tonight to discuss the possibility of hiring a township manager.
As for the status in his borough, Rodger Danielson, Palmerton Borough Manager, listed a $10 million sewer plant upgrade, waterline replacement/ overlay project along portions of Lehigh Avenue, and a new fire station among projects in the works.
"There's a lot of work going on along Delaware Avenue," Danielson said. "Hopefully, it's attractive to people on both sides of the Gap."
Walter Niedermeyer, mayor, Slatington Borough, was next in line to speak.
Niedermeyer discussed a $6 million sewer line replacement project, a change in the borough's electrical supplier that is expected to save between $25,00-$30,000, and an H2O grant the borough received for its sewer treatment plant.
He also remarked that swimming is a go at the Northern Lehigh Swimming Pool at Victory Park.
"There will be swimming in the pool," Niedermeyer said. "The water is filled."
Annette Lacko, Walnutport Borough secretary, and Michael Wentz, borough grant coordinator, then took their turn.
Lacko noted that a Facebook page has been set up on the borough's web page; that the borough's annual carnival will be held July 5-9, and said a land development plan to expand parking at McDonald's in the works.
Wentz noted that the borough has utilized grants to purchase a new police car, to renovate the playground area, and to make improvements to and around the borough's municipal building.
Grants will continue to be pursued, according to Wentz, who lauded state Rep. David Argall for his efforts.
Gerald Phillips, supervisor, Washington Township, gave the final report.
Phillips said the township gave the Lehigh Gap Nature Center a $3,000 donation, announced new banners would be erected in Emerald at 11 a.m. June 28, and said the township's annual clean up/cleanup day will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday.
Breidinger then thanked both chambers for being a part of the joint luncheon.
Kern echoed Breidinger's sentiments.
"I think it was a great meeting," Kern said. "I'm glad we had the opportunity to get here."