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Emmaus Council approves run to benefit fire victims

By Randy Kraft, WFMZ.com Reporter, RKraft@wfmz.com
Published On: Apr 15 2013 11:31:43 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 16 2013 10:52:21 AM CDT
EMMAUS, Pa. -

Emmaus Borough Council has approved a 5-K run to benefit survivors of the March 17 apartment house fire that killed four people -- but without bands or a truck serving beer at the end of the route.

Called the Emmaus Fire Survivors Benefit Run, the event will be 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. May 11. It is being sponsored by Emmaus Main Street Partners.

Council unanimously approved the run, despite skepticism expressed by some members when it was first proposed on April 1 –as well as some lingering concerns about safety raised at Monday night’s council meeting.

On April 1, council members said it usually takes at least six months to plan such an event. But Gene Clock, president of Main Street Partners, said his organization wants to help fire survivors as soon as possible, not in six months or a year.

Some on council also objected to initial plans to sell beer at the event, which isn’t going to happen. “That was just distasteful,” said council member Wesley Barrett.

The event is not a race and no borough streets will be closed. Participants will run (or walk) on sidewalks. They will have to stop at intersections and when trains are rolling across Klines Lane along the route.

Although he voted with his colleagues, council member Michael Waddell commented: “It doesn’t seem safe.”

Barrett said it will be comparable to members of the Emmaus High track team running through town on the sidewalks. He said participants will stop when they get to red lights.

Nearly a third of the 5-K run will be on the South Mountain Gateway Trail.

Rather than a fixed registration fee, cash donations will be accepted at the Emmaus Run Inn sporting goods/shoe store, formerly the Finishing Line, at 322 Main St. on the day of the run.

Participants will start at Emmaus Run Inn, going down Main Street and turning right onto Klines Lane. They will cross two sets of tracks before turning into the trail system, going through the woods to Wieders Lane. After making right turns off Wieders onto E. Main and Alpine streets, they will return to the trails, taking a higher loop of trail to Minor Street, then following Minor to Fifth Street. The run will end at 5th and Broad streets, near the fire scene, which was at 36-38 S. 5th St.

There also will be a three-kilometer option, a shorter version of the same route.

Barrett expects more than 100 people will participate. “It doesn’t have to be just runners,” he said, noting anyone can participate by walking either three kilometers (less than 1.9 miles) or five kilometers (3.1 miles).

“We’re trying to raise some funds for a good cause and have some fun with it too,” said Barrett.

Council also approved plans for “Chalk The Walk,” a new fund-raising event for the Emmaus Arts Commission. It will be 9 a.m. to noon July 14 – a Sunday -- on the Triangle in the center of town. Rain date is July 20.

Artists of all skill levels can sign up to create art on a block of sidewalk, using washable chalk.

The arts commission promotes “Chalk The Walk” as the local version of an Italian street painting festival. Artists will be given a small amount of free chalk but are advised to also bring their own “to give your work depth and color.”

Because art will be created in full view of spectators, participating artists are warned: “This is a family event, please choose appropriate artwork.” Waddell anticipates 50-70 people will participate, including families with children.

Anyone who wants to participate will pay a $10 registration fee.

Council members said the event could spread beyond sidewalks on the Triangle if enough people are interested. But the arts commission says only a limited number of sidewalk blocks are available and is encouraging participants to sign up early at: http://www.emmausarts.org/documents/EmmausChalk ArtistForm.pdf.

Waddell said the event is being organized by Angela Faidley of the arts commission.

Council gave preliminary and final approval, with conditions and waivers, for a 17-space parking lot on the corner of S. Second and Railroad streets. The property is owned by G&N Properties, which needs the lot for an unidentified business it plans to put into the nearby former corporate offices of East Penn Bank, a building G&N also owns.

When Waddell asked what business will be using the parking lot, other borough officials said they did not know. A home that stood on the property has been torn down.

The Emmaus newsletter has been named the best borough newsletter in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs, said borough manager Shane Pepe.

He said it was selected as the best from among several hundred newsletter submitted by boroughs in the competition.

“It’s something I’m very proud of,” said Pepe. “This is the first time we have ever put in for this competition that anybody is aware of.”

Pepe praised Paula Weiant, an administrative assistant in Town Hall, for her hard work in organizing the newsletter.