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Antrim park expansion enters new phases

June 24, 2007|by ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, PA. - What began in the 1980s as an idea to create a larger park in Antrim Township has turned into a multiphase project on 136 acres.

Land development and engineering for Phases 3, 4 and 5 of Antrim Township Community Park on Grant Shook Road are in the final stages, Antrim Township Manager Ben Thomas said.

"Once the land development plan goes through, the goal would be to bid the project this fall," Thomas said.

According to Thomas, the next round of work on the park will include the additions of baseball and softball fields, additional parking and increased green space for athletic and recreational activities.

In addition, Antrim Township received a $378,000 Federal Transportation Enhancement Grant to build a shared-use pathway leading to the park.

The pathway will be an "8-foot paved trail along a portion of Grant Shook Road and Shanks Church Road for walking and bicycling," Thomas said.

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Although it is possible that the pathway would be bid at the same time as Phases 3 through 5, the pathway project is separate from those phases.

The land for Antrim Township Community Park was purchased in 1999, and work on the first phases began in 2001, Thomas said.

"What has been invested so far with the purchase of land and all the improvements would be near $1 million, all funded by landfill tipping fees" at Mountain View Landfill near Upton, Pa., Thomas said.

Tipping fees are fees that are collected for dumping at the landfill. A portion of those charges goes to Antrim Township to be used for parks and recreation, Thomas said.

How it started



The Park Committee and Board of Supervisors of Antrim Township in 1999 worked with an engineering/planning firm to create a long-range master park plan. Work would be conducted in phases based on cost and results of community surveys returned by residents.

"Citizens were able to give input on what they wanted to see at a community park," Thomas said.

The concept of the park was to benefit the citizens of the township, especially in regions where residential growth was taking place, Thomas said.

The areas of growth were in the township's southern and southwest quadrants.

Phase 1 of the master plan was the development of passive recreation, Thomas said.

"That would include the hiking trails and open green space," he said.

Phase 1 also included an open athletic field used for activities such as soccer and football, a paved trail, a gazebo, benches and a playground, Thomas said.

Phase 2 included a pavilion that is used by the community for gatherings, family reunions and picnics, Thomas said.

In 2003, Antrim Township and Greencastle-Antrim High School students received an award from the Penn Forestry Council on Community Partnerships enabling them to work together to plant trees at the park.

"They planted many of the trees that parallel Grant Shook Road," Thomas said.

An 18-hole disc-golf course being built by volunteers is expected to be ready for play later this summer.

Disc golf is similar to regular golf, except players throw plastic flying discs instead of hitting balls with clubs. The discs are thrown at above-ground targets instead of at holes.

The hardware costs for this project were between $12,000 and $14,000, Thomas said.

Looking ahead



As for the future, Thomas said work will be ongoing, noting "there is quite a master plan for the park that ebbs and flows based on community needs."

Future additions will be based on funding availability, a Park Committee review based on community needs and recommendations to the township supervisors.

Much of the work on the park was completed voluntarily by Antrim Township personnel, students at Greencastle-Antrim High School and the Manito alternative school, area Boy Scouts, and Pennsylvania Conservation Corps crews.

Trail maps of the park are available on the township's Web site at www.twp.antrim.pa.us and in boxes around the park.

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