Parkland Press

Thursday, December 12, 2019

South Whitehall Twp voters decide water continues going over the dam

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 by DEBRA PALMIERI dpalmieri@tnonline.com in Local News

South Whitehall voters have decided the township should borrow up to $600,000 to restore and maintain the historic Wehr’s Dam at Covered Bridge Park.

The “yes” vote won by an unofficial 53.13 percent to 46.87 percent, according to the Lehigh County Election Board.

An unofficial 5,188 votes were cast favoring the project. An unofficial 4,577 votes were cast against approving the referendum.

Michael Baker International, the engineering firm hired by the township to inspect the dam and to provide a 5-year plan for its repair, said $588,500 would be needed for the project.

The annual tax increase for a property assessed at the township average of $281,619 would be $17 to repay the loan over a 5-year period.

The amount would vary depending upon the assessed property value and the exact terms of the loan as negotiated with a lender in the future.

Commissioners’ President Christina “Tori” Morgan previously said the board would wait until after the Nov. 8 election to make any decision on plans for the dam.

William Wehr, whose grandfather built the dam more than 100 years ago, was very vocal on preserving the dam for future generations.

“History matters to all of us in many ways,” Wehr said before the referendum vote. “Historical structures are all around us, such as the Steel Stacks, Saylor Cement Kilns, King George Inn, the old one-room schoolhouse, the quarries, lime kilns, covered bridges and Wehr’s Dam.