Venture Group will take over reins for 'The Gathering'
SHARON STANLEY/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Members of the Venture Group include participants from the borough of Slatington, Washington Township, the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, the Mason Lodge & Eastern Star, the Slatington Lions Club, the Rotary, Future Focus, the Northern Lehigh Historical Society, the Northern Lehigh Community Center and the Walnutport Playground Association, along with many other community individuals, gather Wednesday at its first meeting of 2014. They are, front from left, Anita Lear, Jason Breidinger, Josh Friebolin, Bob Treskot, Paul Gass and Ted Kistler; and back, Walter Niedermeyer, Nancy Treskot, Donald Eckhart, Nick Smith, Pete Papay, Clarence Smith and Jim Layland.
Handing over the reins of one project, and picking up those of another, were major topics at the Venture Group's first meeting of the year Wednesday night at Slatington's borough hall.
At the meeting it was announced that, after having spearheaded the construction project, the group has now given up sole proprietorship of the Slatington Trailhead buildings. However, the group also announced it will officially take over responsibilities for the annual one-day October event called "The Gathering," one of the area's biggest fundraisers in which all money raised goes back into the community.
To begin the meeting, new Venture Group Chairwoman Nancy Treskot asked outgoing Chairman Jason Breidinger about the bill of sale for the buildings. Breidinger said it was delivered to the borough office the end of December.
"So it is official," said Treskot, "… the Borough of Slatington now technically owns that facility."
That said, though, she noted that the Venture Group will continue to fund the maintenance, repair and electrical costs associated with keeping the bathrooms and the pavilion open year round.
Treskot then also announced that, after having been approached by the Northern Lehigh Historical Society, the Venture Group has chosen to run Slatington's "Gathering" for the years to come.
Each participating organization in the group volunteered to manage a portion of "The Gathering," though former event leader Pete Papay noted an organization is still needed to take over running the Chinese Auction.
The group decided funds raised at the event would be utilized to maintain and operate the trailhead, with any excess being divided equally among the participating organizations of the Venture Group to help the community as they, individually, see fit.
In other news, Treskot said she wanted to also address rumors involving the possible formation of a Regional Recreational Organization toward which Slatington, Walnutport and Washington Township all recently contributed for a grant to conduct a peer-to-peer study beforehand.
Treskot said that such an organization would not simply help to complete the Northern Lehigh Community Center, but would also assist other recreational properties throughout the area.
"By no means, and I want to emphasize this, is this grant meant to eliminate any organization (like) the community center," she added, "the West End Playground, the Walnutport Canal Association ... It is to help facilitate what (each organization) already has."
Additionally, Leisel Dreisbach of the Penn State Extension in Northampton County visited the meeting and offered each institution represented there help and guidance as the Venture Group makes efforts to assist each one in attaining its vision for the future.
The Venture Group is an all-volunteer association consisting of representatives of local volunteer civic organizations, municipal governments and other individuals, and does such things as apply for grants, donates time, labor and money and provides other necessary efforts to improve the community and help place it on the map as an attraction.
Breidinger, who represents the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, said meetings are open to the public and that visitors' comments are always welcome.
"Volunteer help is still needed," he added.
The Venture Group meets the last Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Slatington Borough Hall.
Jason Breidinger contributed to this story.