East Penn Press

Monday, August 26, 2019
Peg  McCormack stands near her custom  pastel  artwork designed to capture the beauty of Alburtis. PRESS PHOTO BY BEVERLY SPRINGER Peg McCormack stands near her custom pastel artwork designed to capture the beauty of Alburtis. PRESS PHOTO BY BEVERLY SPRINGER

Extraordinary Neighbors Peg McCormack

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 by BEVERLY SPRINGER Special to The Press in Local News

Peg McCormack shares Henry Ford's philosophy, "Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success." Mother, collector, artist and councilwoman, McCormack strongly advocates community cooperation for community prosperity.

Born and raised in Allentown, as an adult McCormack moved to Lower Macungie where she resided for 26 years. During this time her three children – Jason, Melissa, and Lisa – passed through the East Penn School District and grew into successful adults. Then, the opportunity arose for her to purchase an historic house. Eleven years ago she moved into her current home in Alburtis.

Built in 1876, the house provides the perfect setting for McCormack's acquired antiques and family heirlooms. It is also her base of operations.

A sculptor and pastel artist, McCormack became interested in promoting small businesses in Alburtis and landed on the Alburtis Borough Council. At first she filled in for people who had vacated their council seats; eventually, her involvement in community affairs led to her election. McCormack currently represents Alburtis on the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and the East Penn Business Council Board of Directors.

The program that sparks McCormack's enthusiasm is the Chamber of Commerce's Borough Business Revitalization Program which "...mobilizes volunteers and municipalities, assisting them in strengthening their local economies and community structure." In conjunction with the revitalization committee, the Borough of Alburtis sponsors several community events aimed at bringing residents together and spotlighting local entrepreneurs.

The first Sunday in December is the traditional date for the annual Christmas Festival. At the community center, children can enjoy breakfast with Santa. The Alburtis Fire Department then gives Mr. Claus a tour of the town. The Alburtis Historical Society hosts a cookie contest to be judged this year by the owner of the Inn at Maple Grove. An afternoon highlight is Emmaus High School's "Fermata Nowhere" musical presentation followed by the 6 p.m. tree lighting. Residents are invited to participate in the house decorating contest and the romantically inclined can even travel by surrey.

McCormack has been instrumental in preserving the surrey ride. When the activity's cost became prohibitive, she searched for sponsors. Dr. Daniel Smith DVM, owner and director of the Alburtis Animal Hospital and KC Stoves and Fireplaces, Inc. responded by underwriting the activity. McCormack applauds their generosity.

Mary Himmelberger, BBRP and regional Chamber coordinator, provides another type of support. Himmelberger, who works with community representatives from Alburtis, Hellertown, Coopersburg and Lower Saucon writes grant proposals, takes notes and coordinates projects; McCormack considers her "a godsend!" Among her other functions, Himmelberger assists the revitalization committee in developing Alburtis's Centennial Celebration. Tentatively scheduled to include a decorated bike contest, parade, duck or frog race, performances by the Macungie Band and Lockridge Theatre Group and self-guided walking tours, the festivities will take place the second weekend in May 2013.

McCormack is personally organizing presentations at Old Vic and Folkwerks galleries and her enthusiasm for the traditional Maypole dance, a geocaching competition and the May Day Queen are contagious.

"We are excited about it [the centennial celebration] – definitely." The weekend will close with the planting of a 50-year time capsule. McCormack encourages residents to submit suggestions as to what the capsule should contain.

While much of McCormack's time is dedicated to promoting future events, she also takes pride in past accomplishments. The revitalization committee's "Street Scape" program has enhanced Main Street. Trees, brick in-lays and faux slate sidewalks constitute attractive additions to Alburtis's main thoroughfare. Much of this work was funded through grant money, and possible future upgrades include new streetlamps and extension of the existing alterations.

Meetings, workshops, phone calls and appointments interrupt the daily routine. For McCormack these are opportunities. She makes the time to discuss, meet and plan with others. As she not only says but also demonstrates, "Issues – when they come up, I go."