ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Tamaqua resident Shanon Rega, left, talks to Joshua Esposito, Tamaqua's Building Code Officer (BCO) with Barry Isett and Associates, Inc. Esposito also serves as Tamaqua's Zoning Officer and Health Inspector.
"To have good neighbors, you need to be good neighbors," exclaimed speaker Kathy Kunkel, Manager, South Ward Neighborhood Committee.
Residents, business members and representatives from a number of Tamaqua organizations showed up Tuesday evening to participate in the Tamaqua Safety Initiative's public forum held at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.
The discussion, a follow-up to the first meeting, primarily revolved around safety and improvement issues concerning the Initiative's designated Safety Corridor, which includes immediate areas northeast of the Five Points intersection and the 100 blocks of Center Street and Pine Street. Leona Rega, Safety Initiative coordinator, pointed out that in addition to informing and educating everyone concerning the Tamaqua Safety Initiative, residents and partners were asked to come back and take a closer look at the results of what they identified as concerns and needs and talk about what has already been developed by community organizations.
She stressed that the Safety Corridor is only the first area in Tamaqua they will be focusing on over the next few years. "We'll eventually continue using what works here in other areas of Tamaqua," added Rega.
"Some of the most serious health problems and injuries may start in the home," said Safety Initiative Health Navigator Lauri Price, RN, CTTS, St. Luke's Hospital. "Our Healthy Home Program was created to identify and correct these problems."
George Taylor, Tamaqua Area Faith Fellowship Network, spent time going over survey results regarding a community-wide survey given in October to Tamaqua businesses and residents. Taylor noted that the safety concerns are similar from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Tamaqua Police Chief Dave Mattson presented a safety video during the forum. The video, along with several other related videos, can be found at www.tacp.info.
Rega added that they are in the process of starting two community-minded projects devoted to identifying daytime and nighttime areas of concern and praise. The daytime project will involve residents taking photos of key areas that don't feel safe or that are safe and inviting. The nighttime project will involve residents marking down areas of low visibility. Anyone living or working in the corridor and wanting to get involved in either project, can show up on at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center, 125 Pine Street, on Thursday January 24 at either 3 p.m., for the daytime camera project, or 7:30 p.m. for the nighttime visibility survey.
"Anything we learn and identify as good practices to addressing safety and crime in this area can become future working models for other parts of Tamaqua, stressed Rega, as she pointed out the importance of every Tamaqua resident to get involved. "Everyone's input and participation is important to the future creation and implementation of strategies that can improve the quality of life in Tamaqua."