Clark Summit Mayor-elect Patty Lawler envisions community and small town charm at the center of the borough she loves.
“It’s a privilege and an honor to serve the people,” said Lawler, who will be sworn in as mayor Jan. 6, 2014.
Lawler’s vision for Clarks Summit includes revitalizing downtown, keeping the community safe, and bringing the community together as a whole. From going door to door to introduce herself to residents before her first primary council election to becoming mayor-elect, Lawler has a long history with the borough and a résumé that includes community involvement, educator, business owner, service as a Clarks Summit councilperson, and more.
The Depot Street revitalization is one of the major downtown projects Lawler is looking forward to, and is slated to begin in early spring 2014. Lawler chaired the Grant Committee on the Clarks Summit Borough Council and, with the help of area residents, received a $20,000 grant for the Depot Street project that includes adding a small park with a play area for children.
Lawler anticipates residents, business organizations such as the Abington Business and Professional Association, and local government will continue to, “work together and stay positive,” to help revitalize downtown and bring in more business and consumers. Lawler said, “I want to always recognize the people (who contribute),” adding Clarks Summit’s festive downtown lights and community tree are the result of donations from the community and money raised from businesses selling raffle tickets for the Christmas Coalition.
One of Lawler’s major responsibilities as mayor will include supervising the operations of the Clarks Summit Police Department. “Safety in my borough is so important,” Lawler said, adding she is looking forward to working with the “loyal” Clarks Summit Police Department.
Always a “community organizer,” Lawler was passionate about bringing Clarks Summit residents, officials, and business owners together, even before she was involved in local government. Lawler actively participated in community organizations such as The Lackawanna County Federation of Democratic Women, The Griffin Pond Animal Shelter (previously the Lackawanna County Humane Society), Irish Society of Women, St. Joseph’s Center, and others. “I never met a good cause I didn’t like,” Lawler said.
According to Lawler, each mayor brings his or her own signature to the role as a leader in the community, and she is following a, “very fine mayor, an honorable man,” she said of Mayor Harold Kelly. Lawler believes her extensive community participation helped prepare her for the role of mayor and hopes to continue bringing the community closer together. She especially thanked the Clarks Summit Council and staff for their support as well. “The council is the wind beneath my wings,” she said.
Community is at the core of each idea within Lawler’s vision for the future of Clarks Summit. Some of Lawler’s ideas include a “Brunch with the Mayor” where she said the public can, “get to know each other and get to know me,” as well as reintroducing the “Welcome Wagon” to welcome new Clarks Summit residents when they move to the borough.
A retired elementary school teacher, Lawler also stressed the importance of teaching young children about local government. She said, “I want to be actively present within the school district,” and proposed ideas for the future including organizing field trips for local children to visit the Clarks Summit Borough Building. Lawler said field trips such as this will show the children where the council and staff are located and what they do, and show them where the police work. According to Lawler, it is very important for children to learn how to get involved in their community at an early age.
As mayor, Lawler said it is imperative to, “always remain positive.” As of Clarks Summit’s future, Lawler hopes “The best is yet to come.”