The big scissors snipped the yellow ribbon and Phase One of the West End Regional Park was officially opened on Saturday, Oct. 27. This day was 10 years in the making.
In 2002, it was just an idea to turn a 244-acre parcel of land acquired from the Romascavage family by Chestnuthill, Ross, Eldred and Polk townships, into a multiuse park that could be enjoyed by everyone in the West End community. The recreation and open space needs of each township were considered through a series of meetings and discussions. A plan was adopted in January 2003. It would perpetuate Monroe County's vision of protecting environmental resources while creating greenways and new park lands.
West End Park & Open Space Commission (WEPOSC) was born in 2006 with an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement with Ross and Chestnuthill townships and the Pleasant Valley School District. The commission provides the funding, planning, development, operation, maintenance and programming for the West End Regional Park.
The completed Phase One now consists of a -mile shared-use trail, pavilion, parking area with ADA access.
The 20' x 40' pavilion protects the 10 picnic tables Andy Atherton, a Boy Scout from Troop 98 made for his Eagle Scout project. He also spread gravel on the mile trail.
"I believe it's important to help the community. It's a good thing to have the park for the entire West End. Hopefully we can get the rest of the Phases done quickly," said Atherton.
ESSA Bank donated $20,000 toward a grant for the pavilion with the biggest grant coming from PA-DCNR, Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund.
Dr. Douglas Arnold, the superintendent of Pleasant Valley School District serves as the Chairperson of the WEPOSC.
"I got involved when I came to the district six years ago. It's exciting to see what's been accomplished."
Dave Fleetwood, Chestnuthill Township supervisor vice President said that WEPOSC received a lot of help from the supervisors of Ross and Chestnuthill, the school district and the commission members.
"It's a great start but we want to do a lot more," he says.
Upon total completion, the WERP will be the home of more walking trails, several softball/baseball fields, an adult baseball field, football field, dog park, skate park, in-line skating area, basketball and sand volleyball courts, ice-skating area, tot lots, splash pad, youth playground, amphitheaters, pavilions and a community center.
Some of those present at the dedication were: Chestnuthill Township supervisor Chris Eckert and his wife; all three supervisors from Ross Township-Chairman Howard Beers, Vice Chairman Tina Drake and Russell Kresge; PVSD school board President Tom Murphy and Vice President Susan Kresge; Judy Bredinger, WEPOSC treasurer/Friend; Doris Price, Ross Twp. secretary/treasurer/Friend; Steve Rhoades Troop 98 Scoutmaster.
"Our school board is always supportive of our community and the West End," said Dr. Arnold.
"We thank everyone who helped but there's a lot more to be done. It's going to be a great park and we need help to get it done," said Drake.
Dr. Arnold asks if anyone would like to help WEPOSC with the completion of the West End Regional Park, help is needed with fundraising ideas, donations of money for gravel, or gravel, and consider joining the Friends of WEPOSC. To learn more, visit the website at www.weposc.org or contact Bernie Kozen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 570-992-9733.
Dr. Arnold introduced, Bernie Kozen, executive director of West End Park and Open Space Commission, as the Ed Sullivan of the West End."
Kozen thanked everyone for coming and said, "All you made this happen."
Dr. Arnold recognized donors to the park: ESSA, Berkheimer, Brodheadsville Chevy; Gower Funeral; K&S Jewelers; Abeloffs, Saylorsburg Lumber; Kresge Funeral; Gillow Chiropractic; Brodheadsville Veterinary; Monroe County Commissioners; DCNR.
The area services that helped with the park acknowledged were: Reilly Associates; Joe Hanyon (MHK Attorneys); Bruce George Excavating; Chestnuthill and Ross Townships.
Supporters recognized were: all program participants; Boy Scout troops 98 and 101; Andy Atherton.
Dr. Arnold invited everyone to become a member of Friends of WEPOSC. They meet the second Wednesday every month at 6 p.m. at the Ross Township municipal building, located on Anchorage Rd., Saylorsburg.
Upcoming WEPOSC event is with Don Miller and Jim Connor on the McMichaels Creek Hike on Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. You can call 570-992-9733 to learn more.