Lehigh Betterment Committee

A sense of community

-Submitted photo Rachel Tell Sasek, of Ames, watches as her daughter, Lydia Tell Sasek, 1, enjoys her time on the frog that’s part of the new playground equipment in the Lehigh Park. Catie Tell, of Des Moines, checks out the whale, at right.

LEHIGH — A place where families can play and neighbors know and support each other are the benefits of living in a small town.

Lehigh is no exception, and Melissa Bintz, the president of the Lehigh Betterment Committee, and fellow committee members Melissa Rude, Becky Davis and Joe Tuel, are working towards making Lehigh a stronger and more connected community.

Bintz has lived in Lehigh for the past six years and believes in the community where she is raising her three sons.

“Lehigh is a wonderful place for families to raise children,” she said.

She has been a part of the Lehigh Betterment Committee for the past three years. In that time, she and the committee have been a making Lehigh a great place for families.

Reflecting on the committee’s projects, Bintz said, “One of our major accomplishments is the new playground equipment next to the Lehigh baseball diamond.”

The committee raised $20,000 through community dinners and local donations, and then members worked together to assemble the new park equipment that replaced equipment that was more than 20 years old.

The Lehigh Betterment Committee’s mission is to bring community members together to work towards making Lehigh a family friendly town for future generations.

The committee supports the Lehigh Easter egg hunt, the community Thanksgiving dinner, scholarships for local students, and other community groups and causes. They are able to do so because of the support of the community.

Bintz said, “We are a nonprofit group. All of the money/donations we receive we put back into the community.”

One of the events the committee hosts is the Semi-Annual Duck Race, which is an event that runs in conjunction with the annual Lehigh River Days. Individuals purchase rubber ducks and volunteers release the ducks on the river and the first rubber duck to float to the Lehigh boat ramp wins. With events like this, the committee is able to continue investing in its community.

Next, the committee would like to update the basketball court and make improvements to the shelter. Bintz said that they would also like to add more equipment to the park.

The committee is public and is most active during the summer and fall. Bintz said that the committee thrives when the community participates in the committee.

“We love to hear ideas for projects from the community members,” she said.

Creating a sense of community is very important for the committee, and it is considering a “lawn of the week” contest.

Bintz said the committee is committed to helping Lehigh in multiple ways.

“I think everyone on the committee feels that it is important to invest in our community whether it is through the betterment committee, city council, coaching sports teams, or other groups.”

As a result, the committee’s Facebook page is a place where community organizations come together and share events that keep Lehigh citizens informed about various activities beyond the Betterment Committee. The members of the committee are very supportive of local churches, the Lehigh Public Library, Lehigh Volunteer Fire Department and River Days.

Ultimately, the members of the committee are always working towards a better Lehigh.

“Lehigh and other small towns have to continue to improve themselves, otherwise they will begin to disappear,” Bintz said. “This improvement is what the city of Lehigh, the Lehigh Betterment Committee, the Lehigh River Days group, and the other groups try to accomplish.”