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Mock Park open to public in Eldred Twp.

Published March 23. 2019 06:47AM

After 13 years of planning and debate, the entrance to Mock Park through Wes Flo Court is open to the public. Eldred Township supervisors voted this week to allow the public to walk on an undeveloped path on the land. The ruling comes in the midst of objections of residents who live on the road.

“We all are in favor of a park, but we thought a better access wasn’t pursued,” said Marianne Nichols, a resident on the street. “We think access should be on a thoroughfare. We’ve all had to call the police, because there are things we believe have been illegal activities.”

Resident Danielle Serfass agreed with Nichols and said she doesn’t feel safe in the neighborhood.

“If you knew there was drug activity going on would you feel safe? We do have suspicious activity.”

Serfass said she and the neighbors formed a Neighborhood Watch program. She has called the state police 30 times because of suspicious activity at the end of the road.

Township resident Lydia Boileau thinks more people might be the answer to the cul-de-sac’s problem.

“I can appreciate the concerns by the people who border the park,” she said. “The more people who are properly in (the park), the better it would be for the people who are living there. Maybe it won’t be as attractive to the people who are using it for illegal activity. It may actually turn out to be a benefit.”

This was an opinion shared by Supervisors’ Chairwoman Mary Anne Clausen.

“I recognize the safety issues. There are drugs in the area. There are drugs throughout the country,” she said. “This is the littlest, smallest of baby steps. It’s open. Let’s see how it goes. I agree with Lydia. More people there for legal purposes may deter some of the illegal activities.”

Another resident suggested installing security cameras at the entrance and in the park to deter illegal activity. This idea was supported by the supervisors.

As far as parking, hours and park rules, Clausen asked the public to give them some time to formulate the rules.

The original plans for the park set regulations and hours of operation to be from a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset, but these may need updated, said Supervisor Gary Hoffman.

The township also is in the process of clearing some fallen trees from the proposed path.

Plans for a small parking lot on the park property also were made years ago, but that will not be created at this time. For now, visitors will have to park at the end of the cul-de-sac next to Mock Park.

Plans for Mock Park began in 2006 with the purchase of 48 acres from the Mock family to create the Walter W. Mock Park. Jackie Mock envisioned the park as a place where people could walk and hike.

Over the past 13 years, the township has spent $700,000 on the park to cover the purchase price, engineering plans and attorneys’ costs.

Three entrances were proposed, but only one is viable at this time — Wes Flo Court. The other entrances include off Fiddletown and Church roads. Steep elevation and easements have made these options impractical for now.

“We just have to look at logic,” said resident Peter Metzgar. “Church Road is ruled out.”

Don Moore, a member of the Parks and Recreation Committee, which is currently disbanded, said at an earlier township meeting in March that Wes Flo Court is the best entrance point. The elevation from it to the highest point in the park is 20 feet, whereas the elevation from Fiddletown Road to the highest point is much steeper at 200 feet.

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