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Community Rec Park not seeking public funds

Susan Prasse

(6/19) Hamiltonban Township Parks and Rec Commission members met last month to discuss their progress towards building a park for their community. The park will occupy three acres located at 4020 Bullfrog Rd. and PA 116. The property is currently home to the township maintenance building. Township Supervisor Coleen Reamer said an additional 17 acres, currently owned by Valley Quarries may be available at the site if the township wishes to expand the offering.

Commission members agreed that they would be seeking support from several area businesses as efforts progress toward building the park for township and Fairfield residents. Funding for the park is estimated at about $106,000, which was started with $20,000 seed money committed by the township in 2007 when it was originally introduced. The Fairfield Borough and other area businesses have pledged the $33,000 labor cost for the ongoing project.

Commission Vice Chair Maggie Travis stated that "We are not using taxpayer dollars," explaining that money was being sought from state grants and from area "partners" to avoid adding to the tax burden among township residents. Travis said the plan is to use that money when necessary, and repay it from future grants that come available.

Members also discussed updates on their 22 public partners and submitted their mission statement for approval from the township supervisors. They further discussed using the township website ( to get the information on the park’s progress out to its residents.

Characterized as "the core of the project", stage one will begin with the park’s entrance and parking area at 4020 Bullfrog Road. It will have a handicapped-accessible playground, a pavilion, and a 400-foot walking trail that eventually will surround the park. "It will be the only handicapped accessible playground in the area," Commission Chairman Terry Scripture said. She and others involved have volunteered countless hours to bringing the three-acre park of the Township Campus property to life.

Scripture added that "Thirty-one percent of our households include children under age 18, it will be nice to get this project completed for so many families in our community."

In prior meetings, several residents voiced concerns about safety, possible vandalism, and liability issues - asking that a fence be installed around the retention pond. Also suggested was planting water friendly plants and trees for problem areas. Other concerns have included the long-term cost of security, vandalism and maintenance.

A matching grant application that could raise $53,000 was made by the commission in April to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Matching grant funds could be made possible via the Department of Community and Economic Development after the application is submitted. If the grants are approved, construction could begin in mid-2016. The all-volunteer committee is staying very positive and hopeful that the community and area businesses will continue to come together to make the park a reality.

"We want to create a happy, family space for our kids to enjoy," said Scripture. The next meeting of the Hamiltonban Parks and Rec Commission will be held July 7 at 7 p.m. at the township office.

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