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New park gym-dandy

May 28, 2002|BY KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

ANTRIM TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Five-year-old Whitney Hess had just one word to say upon seeing the newly created Antrim Park jungle gym: "Wow."

"She was so excited when we pulled up. She couldn't wait to play on it," said Whitney's mother, Nadine Hess, of Antrim Township.

The Hesses were among an estimated 300 people who visited the park Saturday for an open house and to try out the new playground equipment, said park organizers Ben Thomas and Nate Bacon, who served up free soda and hot dogs.

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The 136-acre community park on Grant Shook Road is at an old farm the Antrim Township Supervisors bought two years ago for $300,000. The projected $1.5 million cost of the completed park will be financed by state grants and tipping fees.

"It's such a good investment in the community, I'm anxious to see it grow," Nadine Hess said.

The park is scheduled to be done in six phases.

The first phase included the construction of the jungle gym.

"It's pretty neat. I like to climb on it," said Hess' son, Wayne, 10.

Hess' sister Heather, 12, agreed.

"It's the best because it has more things to play on," he said.

The jungle gym was designed with input from local elementary school children surveyed for their ideas, said Bacon.

"By getting the kids involved, we're hoping they'll take ownership of the park and take care of it," Bacon said.

The jungle gym includes handicapped accessible equipment.

Deanna Hockman of Antrim Township brought her children, Ben, 6, Jacob, 3, and Robert, 1, to check out the new jungle gym. The park is convenient to her home and provides a lot of outdoor activities she'd like her children to be involved in, she said.

There is a gazebo under construction, an entrance road, recently planted trees, a parking lot and fencing. About 3 miles of hiking trails are in used.

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

Other plans call for drilling a well for an on-site water supply, tennis courts, more playing fields, more trees and restoration of a 19th-century bank barn, Bacon said.

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