Lehigh Valley

Lafayette College seniors seek input on Easton's Hackett Park

The park has fallen on the city's priority list

EASTON, Pa. - A new project by the Lafayette College civil engineering department is asking Easton residents how they would improve Hackett Park.

Lafayette seniors Jenna Didio, Matt Baldino and Emily Maj spoke before Easton City Council Wednesday to introduce their class’s plan to increase local usage and accessibility to the park.

First on their “to do” list is a survey, available now on the project website, hackettpark.wordpress.com.

“We don’t simply want to impose these goals onto the community,” Maj said. “We want to try to incorporate (everybody’s opinion) as best as possible.”

Hackett Park, which lies west of Easton proper, is separated from the city and split north-south by Route 22. Easton residents have trouble getting to the park unless they use the highway, Didio said.

And current amenities, such as soccer fields and a disc golf course, skew toward younger residents and families.

“We’d love to hear your thoughts on it,” Didio said.

Hackett has always been considered a regional park paid for by the city of Easton, Mayor Sal Panto said.

Panto said he’s tried giving Hackett and Hugh Moore parks, both large regional parks, to Northampton County to maintain, but had been told the county couldn’t afford to take on the additional parkland.

With so many accessible parks already within the city to support, Hackett had fallen low on the city’s priority list. It deteriorated over the last 50 years and could now use attention, especially from Easton residents who pay for the park without benefiting from it, Panto said.

Every year Lafayette civil engineering seniors take on a class-wide design project and develop it during the academic year. The program, and others like it, is popular among city officials.

“A lot of the ideas we have implemented, so we’re looking forward to this one,” Panto said.

In other news, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli presented the Easton Police Department with $3,400 for its contributions to the county-wide drug task force.

Praising the department for its efforts, Morganelli said the crime rate in Easton and the county as a whole was heading in a good direction.

When the drug task force confiscates cash, cars or real estate from drug work, the proceeds are often put back into the community. Proceeds from drug activity have funded a part-time district attorney specializing in drug cases, block watches and community youth programs.

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