Lehigh Valley

Emmaus Council renews charter school lease, recognizes volunteer of the year

EMMAUS, Pa. - Emmaus Borough Council on Monday agreed to renew another five-year rental lease with Seven Generations Charter School currently operating in offices at the former East Minor Street home of Rodale Press, Inc. from whom the borough bought the property to transform a portion of it into its new municipal headquarters.

According to Councilman Brent Labensburg, who serves on the borough's general administration committee, the initial yearly rental fee to the charter school five years ago was $170,000; at the fulfillment of the current lease in 2022, it will amount to nearly $220,000.

"This was a wise investment by the borough," Labensburg said, referring to the rental income from the charter school which will pay the borough's mortgage on the property.

Borough Solicitor Jeffrey Dimmich said the new lease includes an annual rent next year of $155,400, or about $12,000 per month, plus an additional $20,000 annually for renting additional office and storage space on the west side of the facility.

In addition, he said the contract specifies a 1.5 percent increase annually for the duration of the five-year lease.

In other business, council, in conjunction with the Friends of the 1803 House committee, awarded the volunteer of the year award to Richard Farmer.

Serving as a volunteer for the past 50 years, he was one of the founders of the Friends of the 1803 House in addition to serving on the Emmaus Arts Commission and Emmaus Heritage Alliance.  

A known watercolorist, Farmer said, "Emmaus history is most fascinating." 

In another matter before council, Emmaus Arts Commission Project Chair Janet Rader presented the annual student excellence in art award to Laura Hodes, a recent graduate of Emmaus High School.

Hodes was recognized for her painting-sculpture series on exotic wild animals called "What if they all were to disappear?"    

She received $500 in gift certificates from local merchants Dick Blick Art Supplies and Conversational Threads and will attend the Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia in the fall.


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