The other day, I happened to drive through East Penn Township on my way home. I passed the park along Route 895 at the west end of the river bridge. As I look at the nice job done on the memorial and the property, my mind raced back in time (as it does with old people) to a few years ago.
As president of the Ashfield Recreation Park Association, we were successful in convincing the former Prince Manufacturing company to donate that triangle of property to East Penn Township for a park. The stipulation set by Prince was that it was named "Marvin Gardens" after the man who donated it. My eyes strained to find a plaque or sign to that effect.
Then I turned and went by the old Community Center. With my mind still racing, I thought of the time when the association held fundraisers there and pleaded with the then sitting supervisors to purchase the property for a recreation center, with the association maintaining it. No, was the answer, plain and simple. I thought there was something in the old deed that said when the church closed, it must forever remain a community center. So, now what do they have there? Even the bell is silent!
Now my mind was really racing, and the old Grange Hall came to my memory. Again, the association used the hall for rehearsing the famous Haunted Hayride, and again we pleaded with the supervisors to purchase that for the association and let them maintain it. The price was unbelievably low! No, they said. Most of you know what happened to that, but for the newcomers, it was sold, transformed into a body shop, belching fumes and dust all the way up the hill to peoples' decks and banisters. Now, that is no longer there. Drive by if you get a chance, and try to envision what the association could have done with the property there.
I say all that to say this: the Ashfield Recreation Park Association and the Haunted Hayride did more for the youth of the township than anyone can imagine. I just hope the present board of supervisors takes this into consideration and does something for the youth of East Penn Township. Yes, now my mind is back to reality.
Richard M. Gross