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State funds park improvements

January 02, 2002

State funds park improvements



By STACEY DANZUSO
chbbureau@innernet.net


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A state grant will enable significant improvements to occur at a popular downtown park, possibly in time for Fourth of July festivities.

The Chambersburg Borough Recreation Department received a $25,000 state grant in December that will be used to repair and upgrade the deteriorating building at Donald F. "Mike" Waters Memorial Park, recreation superintendent Herb Dolaway said.

The square 20-by-40-foot building at one time housed public restrooms, but damage and a leaky roof have limited its use to storage.

Dolaway said the funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development should cover the costs of installing new handicapped-accessible bathrooms and doors, a new roof and an upgraded electrical system.

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If the money stretches far enough, a fresh coat of paint, a drinking fountain and a wider entryway with tables and benches are in the plans.

Some of the work will be done with the borough's summer maintenance crew, but the majority will be completed by a professional company, he said.

Dolaway will ask the borough's recreation board this month for authorization to sign a contract for design plans.

"Hopefully we will start construction in the spring or summer. Ideally, I would like it to be done by July 4 because of a community picnic planned that typically draws 1,000 people," he said.

Mike Waters Park, which encompasses about seven acres along South Second Street, is one of the most used in the borough.

"In the summer months at 9 or 10 at night, there are 50-plus people around the basketball courts," Dolaway said.

The softball fields, picnic pavilion and playground are also busy during the warmer months.

The Recreation Department has already responded to public demand with several new projects.

Recent upgrades include resurfaced basketball courts, new picnic tables, a $40,000 playing structure and a handicapped-accessible walkway at the park.

Dolaway is also waiting to hear back from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources on a grant he applied for in October.

If it receives the $22,500 grant, the borough would match it with funds already in the Recreation Department's budget.

Dolaway said he probably won't be notified about the grant until April but if it is approved, $5,000 will go to a master site plan of the park and $40,000 will be used for a comprehensive study of all borough recreation areas.

"We're hoping with a master site plan we can look to the state for future grants and turn it into a top-notch park," he said.

One thing a site plan would include is a study of all possible uses of the park, including special events that require additional electrical capacity.

Councilman Carl Helman raised the issue at a recent borough council meeting, saying there have been problems in the past with the electric supply being insufficient for the types of events there.

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