March 25, 2023

Nazareth to honor late councilman with dog park memorial

Dogs run free in the large dog area at the Nazareth Dog Park. Staff photo.

The Borough of Nazareth will honor late Councilman Jack Herbst with a memorial sign at the award-winning Nazareth Dog Park, which Herbst brought into existence in 2008.

Mayor Lance Colondo will lead the unveiling ceremony Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the dog park, which is located at the end of Black Rock Road in the northwest corner of Nazareth Borough Park.

After sharing a brief history of the dog park and Herbst’s contributions as a council member, Colondo and those officiating the ceremony will unveil the memorial, which is affixed to a wooden post at the dog park’s entrance.  

Councilman Jack Russell Herbst participates in a 2012 Nazareth Borough Council meeting.
Photo courtesy of LehighValleyLive.

Herbst, a lifelong Nazareth resident, served on the Borough Council for three terms spanning a total of 12 years, beginning in 2002.

“Jack had a real love for our Borough Park … from his earliest days on council, he set out on a mission to improve that facility,” former Mayor John Samus said during a September 2017 council meeting eulogy for Herbst, who died of health complications that August at age 57.

The previous spring, the Nazareth Dog Park had won its second title as the Lehigh Valley’s best dog park, as named by Lehigh Valley Style Magazine; its first victory came in 2014.

“If I can help make Nazareth a little better today than it was yesterday, even in the slightest way,

then I feel that I have succeeded.”

-Councilman Jack Herbst, 2013 (LehighValleyLive interview)

The Nazareth Dog Park, which is open daily from 6 a.m. – 7 p.m., features two fenced-in zones: an area for dogs under 25 pounds and a separated, larger area for larger dogs. A row of trees provides shade for the benches and picnic table by the entrance and in the mulched area beyond the gates at the top of the dog park’s grassy slope.

Nazareth Dog Park’s small dog zone features a ramp for courageous canines to climb.
Staff photo.

Before the dog park’s construction, borough ordinances prohibited dogs in Nazareth Borough Park. Recognizing the needs of local dog owners, Herbst led the effort to create the park’s designated canine area, situated on a hillside overlooking a scenic view of eastern Northampton County.

Nazareth now touts the acclaimed dog park as one of its beloved attractions, but Councilman Herbst faced “long odds” and “substantial opposition” initiating the project, according to a recent Nazareth Borough newsletter publicizing the dedication ceremony.

“There were plenty of critics and those who questioned the need for a dog park and its costs to our citizens, so Jack, on his own, found donors and sponsors who erected the fencing system,” former Mayor Samus said in his 2017 speech for Herbst.

Besides organizing numerous park activities and events, as councilman, Herbst also led the effort to build Nazareth’s skate park, which is located at the Borough Park’s main entrance on North Broad Street. As he did with the dog park, Herbst secured all funding for the skate park from neighboring counties and area businesses, oversaw planning and design, and convinced dissenting council members that building the facility was a good idea.

A memorial for late Nazareth Councilman Jack Herbst will be unveiled Saturday. Staff photo.

“If I can help make Nazareth a little better today than it was yesterday, even in the slightest way, then I feel that I have succeeded,” Herbst told LehighValleyLive during his 2013 reelection campaign.

Last summer, Herbst’s wife Karen approached Mayor Colondo with the idea of dedicating the skate park to her late husband. Colondo said he brought the idea before the Borough Council, who decided that the dog park would be a better location for the tribute.

“I think council felt that it was best to place the dedication and sign at the dog park, since that seems to be what’s generating a lot of positive feedback over the years,” Colondo said.

Contact Chris Devlin, this article’s author:

Chris Devlin

Chris Devlin, web editor and staff writer of The Commuter, is a sophomore at NCC.

View all posts by Chris Devlin →
%d bloggers like this: