The Nazareth Borough Council met Monday, October 3 to vote on the approval for the Nazareth Center for the Arts mural, which will be painted by chosen artist, Matt Halm from Allentown.
Jenny Swanker from Nazareth Center for the Arts (NCA) presented council with an updated sketch of the proposed mural after receiving feedback from the council and residents at the Thursday, September 29 workshop meeting.
NCA secured three grants totaling $10,200 for the mural to cover the majority of the costs and is responsible for the remaining balance.
Swanker has been working with local Lehigh Valley artist Matt Halm for the past month.
“This will positively impact Nazareth and promote more murals in town,” Swanker said.
NCA was given a grant extension through October to finish the 12×16-foot mural on the side of their building and required council’s approval to move forward.
“Our artist grew up in Allentown, he lives in Bethlehem, and he married his wife at Martin Guitar. He has ties here, and we are lucky to win the heart of this mural artist that has national recognition. He has done a lot of murals in the area in Bethlehem and Allentown, and we would like to add Nazareth to that list, and it will open up the door to other mural artists going forward,” said Swanker.
Councilman Carl Strye Jr. stated that everyone is entitled to their opinions and that he doesn’t want to see NCA lose their grants.
Councilman Christopher Crook expressed his opinion that the chosen artist should have been a resident of Nazareth or have ties to NCA.
Nazareth resident Becky Butz offered her insight, stating she is a supporter of NCA and thinks the mural is a wonderful idea, but that there was contention about not using an artist from Nazareth.
Councilman Carl Fischl shared that he believes this mural will enhance the town for younger people and the new generation.
“You can’t always keep it in Nazareth, and as much as everyone wants to keep it local, you just can’t,” said Fischl.
The motion to approve the mural was put to a vote and all council members except Councilwoman Kayla Green voted to move forward with the proposed artwork.
In other business, council voted unanimously to approve the hiring of Theresa Fedele as the full time Borough’s Head Clerk and Assistant Borough Secretary/Treasurer. Ms. Fedele’s annual salary will be $57,500 for a 40-hour work week. Ms. Fedele will receive a contract for the balance of 2022 and a new contract for 2023 at the same salary.
Council also voted unanimously to approve the request of the Greater Valley YMCA to conduct the 15th Annual Pumpkin Pie 5K Race on Thanksgiving morning, November 24 from 9 a.m. to noon and to approve the request of The Nazareth Area Chamber of Commerce for daylong “Free Parking” in the metered zone on Small Business Saturday, November 26.
Next, council voted unanimously to acknowledge the receipt of the 2022 Borough’s State Pension Aid in the amount of $50,376.57.
Council also unanimously voted to renew the dog rescue and pickup agreement with the Nazareth COG contracted with Pibbles Paws Safe Haven for 2023 at a cost of $12,000 annually.
Additionally, council voted to bill the Nazareth Memorial Library for liability and contents insurance for the period June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023 in the amount of $6,236.37, to approve the hiring of Steven Seely as a part-time police officer pending passage of all background checks and necessary certifications, and to approve a three-year contract with Police Chief Randall Miller.
Nazareth Borough Council also voted to direct the Treasurer to turn over the recently received Fireman’s Relief state aid in the amount of $36,049.23, to approve making Schoeneck Road one-way during the operating hours of the upcoming Fall Fireman’s Carnival, and to direct the secretary to place an ad in the Nazareth Key that advises residents of the borough’s procedures for the fall 2022 collection of leaves.
Last, the monthly police report for September listed 436 total police calls with: 33 crimes reported and investigated, 17 criminal arrests, four drug-related crimes, two Part I offenses, 120 traffic citations, 53 warnings issued, two reportable traffic accidents, 17 non-reportable traffic accidents, 288 Parking Enforcement Officer violations, 51 Officer Issued violations, and 339 total parking tickets issued. The Nazareth Borough Police Department collected $13,885 in fees for the month of September.
The borough has multiple events in October, including a Fire Prevention Carnival presented by Vigilance Hose Company No. 1 in the Nazareth Borough Park on October 6 and 7 from 6 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, October 8 from 3 to 10 p.m.
The borough’s Environmental Steering Committee is sponsoring a “residents only” electronics recycling day and shredding event on Saturday, October 15 from 10 a.m. to noon and the annual Halloween Parade will be later that day at 1 p.m., followed by the Nazareth Chamber of Commerce’s annual Fall Festival from 2 to 6 p.m. on South Main Street between Belvidere and Walnut streets and in the Borough parking lot at 128 S. Main St.
The next borough council meeting will be held Monday, November 7 at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers.