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Park remains controversial

Published June 09. 2010 05:00PM

A recreation park in Lower Towamensing Township remains a source of controversy.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Ron Walbert told the audience on Tuesday that the township is headed in a new direction at the Stoney Ridge P.A.R.C. along Fireline Road.

But, before Walbert could discuss the matter any further, resident Herman Bollinger again expressed reservations with prior work that's been done at the recreation facility.

"If you start digging in there, you might be surprised what you find in there," Bollinger said. "This is going to cost money."

However, Walbert told Bollinger he didn't see how that was possible.

"What's there is there," Walbert said. "I'm never going to know because I'm not digging it out."

Attention then turned to Todd Solt, a member of the township's Recreation Committee, who earlier in the meeting was appointed as the township's newest supervisor.

"I can't account for every minute out there, but if there's tires or anything out there, it's before I got involved," Solt said.

Walbert acknowledged Bollinger's concern, but said he believes the township is "doing the best we can."

In April, Todd Solt, a member of the township's Recreation Committee, updated supervisors on the status of the park.

At that time, Solt said final grading and seeding on the east end, the installation of two swing sets, as well as building renovations to include two bathrooms, a service kitchen with handicapped accessibility, HVAC, sewer and water, was among the work that needed to be done.

Solt also said at that time that all the work would be done by volunteers, and said anyone who would like to volunteer should call himself, or the township building.

In June, 2009, the township held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the park. Two years ago, the township received $45,000 from the Community Development Block Grant to build a tot lot, and expects to receive another $75,000 in CDBG funds to use toward other park improvements.

In July, 2008, supervisors agreed to apply for a $774,000 grant from the state Department of Community and Economic Development. With assistance from Speaker of the House Keith McCall, the DCED grant was secured to pay for a combination football/soccer field, another baseball field, and a walking path around the property.

In April, 2008, supervisors applied for a $250,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the park. That grant, was to help pay for the construction of a double basketball court with lighting, as well as additional parking.

However, Solt previously said the combination football/soccer field and double basketball courts may not be built contingent on the receipt of the grants.

Solt said the target is to have three-quarters of the complex completed by this fall. In addition, he said the building could be rented out as a banquet facility that could hold up to as many as 200 people.

The township purchased the land from the Knights of Columbus in 2000. Since then, a ball field and refreshment stand have been built, and a local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troop have used several acres of the land.

Also on Tuesday, Walbert announced that PPL plans to upgrade a substation on Gap Road, where there have been water issues.

"We feel that the line is bad," Walbert said. "They're willing to do the work for us at no cost, just the materials."

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