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Group raises concerns about planned Waynesboro park

February 28, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A passive recreation park being created off North Welty Road isn't planned in a way that is passive enough, according to several representatives of a Waynesboro-area watershed protection organization.

The Antietam Watershed Association's president and other members went before the Washington Township Supervisors Wednesday with concerns about Antietam Meadows Park. That park has been planned as 25 acres of open space along the East Branch of the Antietam Creek.

Costs were estimated at nearly $712,000 in a master plan for the park, which has access off Scott Drive.

"This plan from the beginning has been grandiose," said Pat O'Connor, chairwoman of the Antietam Meadow Committee and member of the watershed association.

Bridges, fishing docks, picnic tables and trash cans shown in the master plan go against the vision for a placid park, O'Connor said.

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She also called the proposal "embarrassingly expensive."

Ann Yost, a landscape architect from YSM, "has prepared a beautiful plan, but it's beyond what the supervisors said they wanted when they set the arrangement up," O'Connor said. The concerns had been voiced to Yost, she said.

Township officials said the drawings developed by Yost are a 20-year plan with a wish list necessary when seeking grant money.

"It's very important that we don't turn Antietam Meadows Park 20 years down the road ... into baseball diamonds and football fields," O'Connor said.

Stephen Rettig, president of the Antietam Watershed Association, urged the supervisors to consider purchasing a commercial lot on North Welty Road. That lot could provide handicapped access to the fishing areas, whereas the master plan shows two bridges being used to accommodate people with disabilities.

Rettig recommended "substitution of solid steppingstones as a means to cross the creek in times of low water, rather than building bridges. These have been used successfully in other similar parks and are more environmentally friendly."

"People can use them quite readily, (but) not someone in a wheelchair, of course," O'Connor said.

Conversations with the lot's owner indicate it is not available for less than the market value, Township Manager Mike Christopher said.

"This whole thing is a series of walkways plus a pair of bridges and a parking lot," Christopher said. Costs escalate when they are estimated with prevailing wage and inflation, he said.

Township officials said they would consolidate the concerns and take them in writing to Yost for plan revisions. Little comment was offered during a November hearing when the plans were unveiled to the public.

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