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Fall Foliage group denied park discount

Published May 24. 2013 05:04PM

Jim Thorpe's Fall Foliage Festival Committee will have to pay the full fees to rent the Josiah White Park and adjacent parking lots, Carbon County commissioners ruled Thursday.

All three commissioners on Thursday voted to deny a request by the committee to have the fees reduced to $1.

"We had others request that facility this year, and they had to pay the fee. If we do this for one person or one organization, then we have to do it for the others," said Commissioners Chairman Wayne Nothstein.

Fall Foliage Festival Committee Chairman Robert Gaudreau had requested commissioners allow the group to rent the park, the parking lot beside the park, and the parking lot across the street, on Susquehanna Street, for $1 per day ($6 every weekend).

Outside the meeting, Commissioner William O'Gurek said the county rents the park for $15 a day; the area behind the Hooven Building, where there are parking meters, for $50 per weekend. That's $95 for a three-day weekend.

After the public meeting, Gaudreau gave reporters a copy of a letter he had written to the commissioners.

The annual Fall Foliage Festival draws thousands of visitors.

"My organization has taken on the responsibility of seeing to these visitors' needs by hosting an event designed to make sure the food and facility needs are met," he wrote. "In addition, we provide some entertainment and a taste of the local crafts and artisans in hope that these visitors will explore the town further and find us an interesting place for the current visit and a worthy place for return visits."

Gaudreau also wrote that the borough "has been forced to have all extraordinary police efforts funded by any group central to the cause of the extraordinary event. Even though the train will be processing nearly 5,000 riders and your (county) parking lot nearly 1,500 cars a weekend during this time, the target of the police service charges will be my organization during this event."

Gaudreau went on to write that the county benefits from the festival, and that reducing the fees would decrease the committee's operating budget by about $1,000.

In other matter Thursday, commissioners waived the rental charge for Robert E. Brown to operate the camp store at Mauch Chunk Lake Park for this month.

"We had a problem with water out there, we developed a mold problem. We had to remove the floor, the subflooring, and totally replace all the flooring in the camp store. Therefore, Mr. Brown was unable to use the camp store for the month of May," Nothstein said.

He said Brown may be able to get back into the store this weekend.

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