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Northampton mobile bandshell popularity grows

At its April 15 meeting, Northampton Borough Council discussed the popularity of its mobile bandshell and some of the recent requests for its usage.

Catasauqua Borough requested and received permission to borrow the mobile bandshell for its inaugural StrEAT Fest, held April 10. The mobile bandshell housed the musical acts that entertained the festival attendees.

Becky’s Drive-in also requested the use of the mobile bandshell for its annual Dream Come True event. Reportedly, more than $300,000 has been raised by Becky’s for Dream Come True at these events over the years.

South Whitehall Township requested the mobile bandshell for three dates in June and July. Originally, South Whitehall requested four dates, but one date conflicted with Northampton Community Days, where the mobile bandshell will be used.

Northampton Borough Manager LeRoy Brobst said the irony is the mobile bandshell was purchased from South Whitehall Township a number of years ago.

“We got the used portable bandshell, refurbished it, and we still use it today,” Brobst said.

Northampton charges delivery and setup fees to groups that use the bandshell.

In other business, First Baptist Church of Allentown requested the use of two pavilions at Northampton’s Municipal Park Sept. 12. It is requesting a waiver of all fees due to its nonprofit status.

First Baptist wants to use the pavilions for its Rally Day. Rally Day marks and celebrates the beginning of the new church school year. It is seen as a day of renewal for church members and children.

Northampton Banquet and Event Center officers approached council requesting a waiver on the rent it pays to Northampton Borough for operating the 1601 Laubach Ave. facility. The borough owns the community center, with the center organization operating activities and events.

The center also pays the electric bill for the swimming pool complex. The center has been closed since early last year due to the pandemic.

Council waived the rent and the electric bill until the center is operational.

There was further discussion about the creation of a stormwater fee. Reportedly, there are split opinions among council members about installing this fee. It could be as small as a few dollars quarterly for some residents and as high as several thousands of dollars quarterly for some businesses and the school district.

Council tabled any action on a potential fee until the May meeting. Brobst said council’s first decision is whether to move forward and institute the fee and have a public discussion.

Applications are still being accepted for lifeguards for the 2021 swimming season.

“Results have not been encouraging,” Brobst said, noting there is also a shortage of other applicants - namely for cashier and bathhouse attendant.

Brobst plans to meet with the pool manager to develop a safe pool opening plan.

In another matter brought up at last month’s meeting, a resident complained the tennis courts at the middle school are not open for public use, as promised by the school district. Brobst noted he followed up with the school district, and the tennis courts are now open to the public.

The next Northampton Borough Council meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. May 6 at the municipal building, 1401 Laubach Ave.