Northern Lehigh – A Continuous Venture

May 17th Slatington Trailhead Dedication, 11am-1pm 

State Representative Julie Harhart, Members of the Slatington Borough Council, Washington Township Supervisors, Lehigh County, the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce (GNLCC), the Walnutport Canal Association, the Walnutport Playground Association, the Women’s Club of Slatington, the Northern Lehigh School District, the Lions Club, the Northern Lehigh Historical Society, Future Focus, the Rotary, the Mason Lodge & Eastern Star, the Northern Lehigh Community Center, Lehigh Engineering, Orkin Steel and the Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit all gave of their time and assets. Local businesses, community leaders and local service groups responded with uncommon results.  The General Morgan Bridge was completed in less than one construction year, with little negative impact on the community or our schools; a major success and a direct result of dedicated individuals and groups working together in support of our community. Everyone quickly realized volunteers represent the backbone of our community.  Recognizing the potential the Borough of Slatington, Washington Township, the GNLCC, the Mason Lodge & Eastern Star, the Slatington Lions Club, the Rotary, Future Focus, the NL Historical Society and the Walnutport Playground Association met and the “Venture Group” was ratified into being.  Meetings are open to the public and all community organizations; the Venture Group meets the last Wednesday of each month at 7pm in the Slatington Borough Hall.  Each participant and attendee represents their organization with one vote per organization. The GNLCC was chosen as Chair of the group and the Historical Society its Treasurer. It’s all volunteer and an invitation to participate is not a requirement.  The volunteers and organizations together with the Venture Group, Lehigh County, the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor DC&R and PenTeleData/Blue Ridge Communications have improved the former Slatington High School site, and help the Canal Association and Lehigh Gap Nature Center provide great educational and recreational experiences to those inside and outside of our community.  These Volunteers apply for grants, donate of their labor, time and money, providing the necessary efforts to improve our community and place it on the map as an attraction.  Now… they’ve improved the Slatington Trailhead.  Standing on what was once a vacant lot are bathrooms, a meeting room with electricity and running water and a pavilion all with PenTeleData wireless internet access.  The sum total of these in kind services and donations have saved our communities hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The Trailhead bathrooms and pavilion would have cost our municipalities and our taxpayers in excess of $400,000 to erect if we used grant monies.  Thanks to our Volunteers and local businesses the cost to erect the buildings totaled $125000.  The D&L utilized government grant monies to design and improve the parking lot, berms, grass and trees.  These buildings are a one of a kind built using the materials specific to our area.  The Community Center will be offering bicycle rentals throughout the spring, summer and fall and the buildings are available to members of the public through the Borough!  If you’ve been to the trailhead during the week or on the weekend you can see that the volunteers who have contributed their time, money and efforts to the Slatington Trailhead have achieved their goal! We now have lists of community activities and attractions that provide enjoyment for our local community and attract patrons from inside and outside the Northern Lehigh area.  Canal Days, Rodale/D&L Sponsored 500 member Bike a Thons and Marathons, the Duck Race, July 4th Heritage Day, The Gathering, Walnutport Playground Festival, the Halloween Parade (oldest in the United States), Community Center activities, active volunteer swimming and a trailhead at the intersection of 7 major trails with bathroom/pavilion/Wi-Fi facilities. Donations are always welcome. The Venture Group made a commitment to the Borough of Slatington to bear the cost of maintenance for the buildings.  Please take the time to remind your friends and family that the trailhead site is not funded or maintained by tax payers and we all volunteer in our own way; even if its picking up a cup lying in the parking lot on our way in or out. On May 17th at 1100 am the Venture Group meets to dedicate the buildings at the Slatington Trailhead to the Borough of Slatington.  After a short ceremony hot dogs and lemonade will be provided to the public by the Community Center.  We invite you to attend as we thank our volunteers!  The next Venture Group meeting is May 29th at 7pm in the Slatington Borough Hall.  We invite you to attend and bring your ideas.  It should be no surprise that while one project nears a close members of the Venture Group are dusting off their hands, looking around and asking, “ok, what’s next?” About The Chamber:    The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to: deliver value to members through superior programs and services; advocate to advance business interests; unify the Lehigh Valley business community to leverage regional resources and strengthen its collective voice; and to create opportunities for businesses to grow.  With over 5,000 members who employ more than 140,000 individuals, the Chamber is the largest in Pennsylvania, and one of the fastest growing in the nation.

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