Carbon to donate 26 acres of Packerton Yards property to Lehighton
This map depicts the Packerton Yards property. Carbon County has agreed to donate about 26 acres of the property to Lehighton Borough to be used for recreational purposes. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Carbon County has agreed to donate about half of the Packerton Yards property to Lehighton to be used for recreational purposes.
County Commissioner Wayne E. Nothstein confirmed Friday that the county will donate about 26 acres, which is in the flood plain, to the borough.
“Yes, we are looking to give that to the borough of Lehighton,” Nothstein said. “Basically to the county, that is unfeasible land for economic development, but it’s probably well-suited for recreation.”
Nothstein added that all of the property being donated is located inside the borough line, and not on the Mahoning Township side.
However, he said there is no written agreement in place, adding that they are still working on other details with the railroad and the right of way for access to the property.
Nothstein said the county plans to keep the other 25 acres on the Packerton Yards property, as it has “no plans for that right now.”
Improved boating and fishing access
Dennis DeMara and Chris Strohler from the Wildlands Conservancy met with Lehighton Borough Council on Monday to recap the progress and events with the Lehigh River Access Project.
Strohler, a senior conservation planner, said that Wildlands Conservancy previously approached the borough a few years ago.
“There’s always been interest from the boating and fishing community for public access at Dunbar’s Beach,” Strohler said. “We were looking into the possibility of constructing a more formal boat launch and fishing access at Dunbar’s Beach.”
Strohler said that the county owns a significant portion of the property just to the north of Dunbar Bottling Company and has agreed to donate 26 acres to the borough that the county and borough would subdivide.
He said the borough has agreed to facilitate the subdivision, and the borough’s engineer is working with the county on that, Strohler said.
“We are still very interested in this project,” he said. “We have been talking to the Palmerton Restoration Trustee Council who would provide funding for the construction of a boat launch, and this location is a high priority for the Restoration Council to provide better access at this site.”
Strohler said that as soon as the borough can take ownership of the county land and the other portion of the property at Dunbar’s Beach, the commission could then subdivide and transfer it into the borough’s ownership.
The borough does not own Dunbar’s Beach outright — it is owned by the Lehigh Canal Recreation Commission, for which the borough is one of seven members of the commission who own the Lehigh Canal through Carbon County.
Therefore, he said the borough would be able to have complete ownership for construction access and maintenance of the site.
Borough Manager Nicole Beckett said Lehighton must also sort out the ownership of other parts of the site with neighboring municipalities before any kind of construction can begin.
Beckett said the project is expected to be fully funded through the Palmerton Restoration Trustee Council for construction costs for river access once the borough secures the property and access.
She said borough solicitor Jim Nanovic and borough engineer Bruce Steigerwalt will work on the legal and engineering aspects to include right of way, ownership and surveying.