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Farmers' market is proposed off Route 209 in Lehighton

Published June 26. 2012 05:01PM

A Lehighton businessman is hoping to organize a weekly farmers' market next to one of Lehighton's busiest thoroughfares.

Frank Potoczak, owner of the Castle Grill Restaurant, said last night he would like to have the exchange along Lehigh Drive, which is off Route 209 (Sgt. Stanley Hoffman Boulevard).

He presented the proposal to Lehighton Borough Council. Several members of the council praised the concept, but no formal action on the request was taken.

Potoczak said he would like to get the event started possibly on Saturdays as soon as possible.

"Local farmers have no place to sell goods," he said, noting that area along Lehigh Drive, which runs parallel a short distance to Route 209, would provide a very visible location. He added that motorists passing through the town could stop and patronize the local growers.

Council President Grant Hunsicker voiced his support for the idea, saying it is something worth trying.

"I think it sounds good," agreed Vice President Scott Rehrig.

Another council member, John Bird, said, "I would say a farmers' market is an unfilled niche."

Potoczak said he feels there is enough parking space along Lehigh Drive to accommodate such a regularly scheduled event.

He added that farmers' markets in Mahoning Township and Jim Thorpe have closed, creating the opportunity to try such a project.

Lehighton Borough Manager Nicole Beckett said a farmers' market along Lehigh Drive would be compatible to the borough's Comprehensive Plan.

Potoczak told the council, "Everywhere I look I see opportunities" in this town.

He said he will be replacing a lighted welcoming sign at the north entrance to the borough.

Lehigh Drive extends from Maiden Lane to Bowmanstown along the Lehigh River. It is part of the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor.

In other matters related to Lehigh Drive:

• The council agreed to apply for a $20,000 matching Lehigh Valley Greenways grant which would be applied to signage and other improvements along Lehigh Drive. Beckett said the borough's part of the matching grant could be the use of in-kind services.

• Beltzville Lions Club was given permission to hold a Fall Foliage Festival and Hayride on Lehigh Drive on Oct. 27 and 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The club was urged to make arrangements with fire police for traffic control. The club also requested that the borough provide electricity for the event, but Beckett said such a service is not available along Lehigh Drive. As a result, the club would be able to utilize generators.

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