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Lasting legacy to reorganize in january [Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.]

By Stephen J. Pytak, Republican & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Dec. 27--The year 2012 will mark a decade since Pottsville officials and volunteers came up with a plan to improve parks by establishing a nonprofit organization and an endownment fund.

These days, Lasting Legacy for Pottsville, which will appoint a new president in January, is using $20,000 in donations to build a single rest room at the city's Yuengling Bicentennial Park. While it continues to encourage donations to maintain its park projects, Lasting Legacy is always looking to the future.

"We're always open for ideas," Joseph P. Schlitzer, a former Lasting Legacy president, said last week.

Schlitzer, a senior account executive at Higgins Insurance Agency, Pottsville, was one of three people the city council recently appointed to the board.

Amy S. Burkhart, executive director of the Pottsville Area Development Corps., praised Lasting Legacy's efforts recently to beautify parks and, in turn, neighborhoods in the city.

"I like the projects that they've done and the dramatic impact they've had on the quality of life in the city. Yuengling Bicentennial Park, for example, is a passive park which is scenic. I believe it could increase property values in that area," Burkhart said.

Lasting Legacy, which meets quarterly, will hold its next meeting at the offices of the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation, 216 S. Centre St., Pottsville, but the date and time have not yet been set, City Administrator Thomas A. Palamar, who was just named to the board, said Wednesday.

This will be a reorganization meeting in which a new president will be appointed, Palamar said.

In 2002, city officials and volunteers formed a committee to plan events to celebrate the city's bicentennial in 2006. Palamar said he was part of that committee.

"The Bicentennial Committee wanted to do more than just hold a parade or do a one-time thing. They wanted to establish something permanent," Palamar said.

That's how Lasting Legacy came about.

"Through the very virtue of its name, Lasting Legacy wanted to make sure it was able to maintain whatever investment it made in the community, so it always looked nice or nicer than when it was put in," Palamar said.

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Lasting Legacy's first board of directors was formed in 2003. It is a nonprofit, 501c3 organization, Palamar said.

"And people have the comfort of knowing that the donations are being handled through a trusted community entity," Palamar added.

Its endowment is managed by the Schuylkill Area Community Foundation. A nonprofit corporation, the foundation has served Schuylkill County for more than 40 years by developing, managing and investing contributions and distributing earnings for 128 funds, Eileen Kuperavage, the foundation's executive director, said Thursday.

The foundation manages two accounts for Lasting Legacy, according to Kuperavage. Its "permanent endowment" is $201,101.38.

"Those funds are invested in perpetuity and the earnings are distributed to the organization for their projects," Kuperavage said.

Lasting Legacy also has a "maintenance account," a fund used to maintain its park projects, including Yuengling Bicentennial Park. As of Dec. 22, it contained $11,301.87, according to Kuperavage.

The 2011 board members included President Joseph H. Jones III and members Debbie Yuengling Ferhat, Kim Murphy, Kenneth Huebner, Zarina Wahhab, Jerry Enders, James Bohorad, Ian Lipton and Mayor John D.W. Reiley, according to Palamar and Reiley.

On Dec. 12, the city council appointed three members to Lasting Legacy for Pottsville. Reiley said according to the bylaws for Lasting Legacy, members can only serve up to two consecutive three-year terms. Reiley said he, Lipton and Jones will be stepping down since their second terms will be up on Dec. 31.

Along with Schlitzer, the council appointed Naomi Morrow Ost, vice president of Union Bank, Pottsville, who also served on the Lasting Legacy board previously, and Palamar, who is new to the board, to three-year terms to end Dec. 31, 2014.

Board members are not paid, Reiley said.

"We all buy our own lunch. And the members of the Lasting Legacy board have all contributed something to Lasting Legacy. You just don't take anybody and put them on the board. They have to be a contributor to get on the board," Reiley said.

Ost said Dec. 20 that her goal as a member is to keep the organization going.

"There's the upkeep of all the projects we've started, like Yuengling Bicentennial Park," Ost said.

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Over the years, Lasting Legacy's projects included upgrades on The City of Pottsville Bike Path and Jogging Area at JFK Recreation Complex, the restoration of the "old city steps" on South Centre Street near the former YWCA of Pottsville building, the construction of a picnic pavilion at Rotary Playground and the establishment of the veterans monument at Gen. George A. Joulwan Park, Palamar said.

This month, Lasting Legacy spent an estimated $20,000 to install a bathroom at the park at 11th and West Norwegian streets.

In August 2004, D.G. Yuengling & Son Inc. gave the 1.34-acre park which occupies the block on West Norwegian Street between 10th and 11th streets to the city for $1, according to the online Schuylkill Parcel Locator. Then the city allowed Lasting Legacy of Pottsville to manage the park.

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(c)2011 the Republican & Herald (Pottsville, Pa.)

Visit the Republican & Herald (Pottsville, Pa.) at republicanherald.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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