Bike Night will remain in Lehighton Committee considered moving event because of bridge work
TERRY AHNER/TIMES NEWS Lehighton Fire Department officer Paul Mriss (first from left) and Ed Finney, who founded Lehighton's annual Bike Night 15 years ago, plead with Borough Council on Friday to keep the event in the borough.
Lehighton's highly successful Bike Night event will, in fact, remain in the borough.
By a 5-0 vote at a special meeting on Friday, borough council made a motion to not allow the event to be held outside of the borough.
Councilman Scott Rehrig, Darryl Arner, John Kreitz, Councilwoman Helen Torok, and council President Grant Hunsicker were in favor. Councilman Joe Flickinger and Councilwoman Bessie Bauchspies were absent.
Borough Manager Nicole Beckett said Lehighton Bike Night Committee member Ty Poole of Boat Yard Bar and Grill, and LDIC President Frank Potoczak of Red Castle Brewery and Castle Grill, informed her that they were considering moving the event to Franklin Township due to construction work to the McCall Bridge, as well as lower park construction.
The park project will include new lighting, landscaping, sidewalks, walkways, utility improvements, ADA Accessibility, and signage, Beckett said.
"Our offices had notified any group who holds events in the park that the construction may affect their events," Beckett said. "Working with the engineers, we were able to accommodate the August event."
Before the vote, residents Paul Mriss and Ed Finney pleaded with council to leave the event in the borough.
Mriss, an officer with the Lehighton Fire Department, said the event which celebrated its 15th annual event this past August would be sorely missed if it were to leave the borough.
"My concerns are that it generated a good amount of money to the fire department and police department," Mriss said. "It also brought a great amount of tourists to the borough, and people look forward to it; even the locals."
Ed Finney of Lehighton, who founded Lehighton Bike Night 15 years ago and also served as president for many years, agreed.
"It was well run last year," Finney said. "They did a fantastic job."
Mriss added, "It helps everybody in Lehighton. It brought a sense of community back to Lehighton that we haven't seen in years."
Hunsicker said the borough offered to hold this year's event at either Baer Memorial Park, or the Grove.
Rehrig added, "We did everything humanly possible to have this event in Lehighton."
Torok stated, "I think this is urgent enough that it needs to be addressed."
At that, council motioned to continue to hold the event in the borough.
Beckett said the event has always been held the second Saturday in August.
The event was organized by the Lehighton Downtown Initiative Committee.