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Lehighton’s proposed dog park off table

Published January 11. 2020 05:57AM

A proposed dog park in Lehighton appears to have lost its bite.

Borough Councilwoman Autumn Abelovsky informed borough council on Monday that the dog park is no longer proposed.

“The girl pulled out of the project,” Abelovsky said.

Jessica Mabus, of Girl Scout Troop 329, initially pitched the concept of a dog park to council.

On a narrow 4-3 vote, council in October approved the creation of a dog park at Skyline Park along North Third Street.

That came after council deadlocked on a 3-3 vote, with Autumn Abelovsky, Ryan Saunders and council President Grant Hunsicker in favor, and Joe Flickinger, Lisa Perry and then Councilman Donnie Rehrig opposed.

Since Councilman Darryl Arner was absent, Mayor Clark Ritter, in his capacity as mayor, broke the tiebreaker when he cast the deciding vote in the affirmative that resulted in a 4-3 majority vote.

Flickinger said that logistically with the parking, he didn’t believe it was a good idea to have the dog park located at Skyline Park.

Rehrig said he agreed with Flickinger as far as parking was concerned.

However, Abelovsky noted that the matter was discussed at a public meeting of the Lehighton Dog Park Association in September.

Initially, the tentative location for the park was the grass area next to the Lehighton Recreation Center on South Eighth Street.

However, Mabus told council in September that she would like to create the park at Skyline Park.

That came after Mabus approached council in March with the idea to create the park as her Gold Award Project for Girl Scouts, which is the equivalent to the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Project.

As for the actual design, it was to have been one large dog park and one small dog park.

The mission of the Lehighton Borough Dog Park Association is to organize the establishment of a dog park in the borough; provide adequate areas, boundaries and supplies for a community dog park; and encourage participation from volunteers to maintain a community dog park within the borough.

The park was intended to provide a safe and secure environment where owners may exercise and train their dogs, providing effective socialization opportunities for people and their dogs, as well as enhancing positive interaction between dog owners and the community.

Mabus had been in the process of applying for grants for a dog park, and the grants needed to be submitted through the borough.

Borough officials in September 2018 debated putting an end to its dogs prohibited in parks and playgrounds ordinance.

At that time, council on a 4-3 vote agreed to advertise an ordinance to abolish the current borough ordinance pertaining to dogs prohibited in parks and playgrounds.

No other action has been taken on the ordinance since council’s vote last September.

This wasn’t the first time a park has been proposed for Skyline Park.

In December 2016, council heard a proposal from “On the Grind” Association about creating a skate park at Skyline Park.

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