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Antrim Township to celebrate new park

May 24, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Ben Thomas and Nate Bacon stood on a knoll Thursday afternoon and watched heavy equipment moving dirt in a field a hundred yards away.

What they saw was the construction of a 300-by-360-foot multi-purpose playing field.

"They're going to seed it next week, but it won't be ready for play until next year," said Thomas, an Antrim Township administrator.

Thomas and Bacon, chairman of the Antrim Township Parks Committee, were seeing the vision of a 136-acre community park becoming a reality.

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That vision will be celebrated Saturday, with Antrim Park Day scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park on Grant Shook Road.

The event will be an open house "so the people can come and get a look at their new park," Thomas said. "We want them to see the vision of what this park is going to be."

The Antrim Township Supervisors paid $300,000 for an old farm two years ago. The farmhouse is long gone, but a sturdy, late-19th century Pennsylvania bank barn stands tall. It will be restored for storage and future community use, Bacon said.

The projected cost of the park is $1.5 million, Thomas said. Some of the money will come from state grants, but the lion's share comes from tipping fees paid to the township by Mountain View Reclamation, the big Waste Management landfill off Pa. 16 near Upton, Pa.

The supervisors negotiated a deal with Waste Management to get 30 cents for each ton of refuse dumped at the landfill to be spent on development and maintenance of the park. The township also gets $1 per ton for general recreational use.

"No local tax money is going into the park," Thomas said.

Construction will be done in six phases, with the first phase under way.

A small playground designed by local elementary school children is already in place, and construction of a gazebo has started.

There is an entrance road, some recently planted trees, a parking lot and some fencing. About three miles of hiking trails are already being used.

Subsequent phases will see the construction of a large pavilion, smaller pavilions, picnic areas, more roads, paved trails for rollerbladers, more hiking trails and a trail that will circle the park, Bacon said.

Other plans include the drilling of a well for an on-site water supply, tennis courts, more playing fields, more tree plantings and restoration of the barn, Bacon said.

"The phases will overlap because we'll be building new playing fields, developing more trails, building more pavilions and planting more trees as we go along," he said.

A particularly nice feature of the park is its 60-plus acres of woodlands that not only are a hiker's mecca, but create a natural wildlife habitat as well, Thomas said.

"Antrim Township grew by more than 24 percent from 1990 to 2000 to a total population of 12,500," he said. "It's important to plan for this now before it's too late."

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