TAMAQUA, Pa. -- A young man is looking to make a personal difference in the community he grew up in which he is now serving as mayor.
Nathan Gerace, 20, took office in January in Tamaqua and since then he's made an effort to brighten up the borough.
Tamaqua Mayor Nathan Gerace chats with folks outside the Tamaqua Community Arts Center.
The mayor says he wanted to hear from residents on ways to improve Tamaqua and offered up time for people to share thoughts.
“To kind of get involved with the community, to have them come out and tell me what they're looking for in the town,” said Gerace. “It's really important for feedback from them so I can kind of understand what steps they want to start taking, in the direction.”
The now 20-year-old mayor was elected last November and he jumped right into the job.
Gerace teamed up with the arts center after it launched a campaign to boost the downtown.
“The first project that we did was ‘Dear Tamaqua’ which really opened up the dialog, getting our community to talk about what they love, what they hate, what the hope for the future area,” said Leona Rega, the coordinator of the center. “Then the second project that we did was Tamaqua, the little town with the big heart and we really focused on the positives.”
Since then, artworks have popped up in the downtown.
Now the third part, talking to people about what they'd like to see.
“What are their hopes and dreams for the future, what are their raw aspirations,” said Rega.
“You have somebody like the art center, whose out there, whose building, putting art in the community,” said Gerace. “You have a lot of the borough employees that are helping out with this, you have a lot of different art going up.”
“His ideas are very realistic, very open-minded and it's a refreshing air to see somebody so open minded with community and so involved to be able to come in especially at a young age,” said Tamaqua resident Hiram Quintana.
As Tamaqua is preparing to observe Memorial Day, many of the displays in the downtown have been patriotic, including the 91 wreaths set to honor Tamaqua's fallen heroes at the borough Depot Square Park.
And with this being Tamaqua's 150th anniversary marking Memorial Day, Memorial Day events were scheduled all through May.
“We have the Cressona band that will be performing at our east end playground and we have fireworks over Tamaqua,” said Rega.
Tamaqua's Memorial Day parade will be at 10 a.m. next Monday, May 28.
The day's events will end after a bell ringing for each of Tamaqua's 91 fallen heroes.