At the Nazareth Borough Council meeting Monday night, concerns were expressed by the NEDC- Nazareth Economic Development Committee- that the group’s funding may be cut. This would lead to the possible elimination of the Downtown Manager’s position next year, changing it to Farmers’ Market Manager, which is seasonal as opposed to year-round.
Lori Bernardo, President of the NEDC, spoke on behalf of the organization and explained the effects the cut would have, not only on the economic growth of the town, but also the community as a whole.
Liz Wyant is the current Downtown Manager and Bernardo attributes much of the Farmers’ Market’s success to Wyant. The seasonal market draws a substantial amount of people to the area and promotes local businesses. Mayor Lance E. Colondo recognized the accomplishments of Wyant and said they were “getting a bargain” for all she does. Mayor Colondo voiced his concern of losing Wyant as the Farmers’ Market Manager if the Downtown Manager position were to be eliminated.
Council President Daniel R. Chiavaroli confirmed there was talk concerning the NEDC’s funding, but at this time it was only a topic for discussion at the Oct. 23 annual budget meeting and that no decisions had been made.
Councilwoman Jessica Teel Sadler said budget cuts are a normal part of the yearly meeting and Council looks at every expenditure the same way and no one group is specifically targeted.
The NEDC’s mission is to promote business growth in the Borough with the interest being the betterment of the community. Their focus will be uniting all of the town’s various committees, The Main Street 4-Point Approach, to achieve financial prosperity for the downtown area. The program provides framework for community-driven, comprehensive revitalization and bases its plan for success on the four principles of economic vitality, design promotion and organization.
In addition, Bernardo pointed out there would be no one to manage the Facade Grant Program, a potential drawback if the Downtown Manager’s position is terminated. In the last four years, over $200,000 worth of improvements have been supported by the Facade grants.
The NEDC plans to address council further at the next workshop meeting which takes place the Thursday before Monday’s council meeting.
In other news, a bronze plaque honoring those who served in the Vietnam War will be adorning the outside of Council Chambers. A dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting is to take place following the Memorial Day parade. Three Nazareth citizens lost their lives in the war.
Mayor Lance E. Colondo recognized the accomplishments of two Nazareth natives, Sage Karam and Joe Kovacs Jr. Karam, a 2014 graduate of Nazareth High School, won his latest IndyCar race recently. Kovacs, a former Nazareth resident, won the Olympic Silver Medal in the 2019 IAAF Shot Put World Championship in Qatar.