When ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held recently for the playground at Elementary Park in Fallowfield Township, it marked the culmination of five years of work and planning.
It is just the beginning of positive improvements for the township’s two parks, said Fallowfield Township Supervisor Wilbur Caldwell.
“This is the first thing that has been visible to the public,” Caldwell said.
The plan began when the supervisors, following Caldwell’s recommendation, commissioned an economic development study in 2012.
“The study identified different things the township needed to do if it was going to grow, and one of those was parks and recreation,” Caldwell said. “So we hired consultant HRG to help us put plans together for Elementary Park and Community Park. After the plans were developed, we started looking for funding sources.”
The township applied for grants from the state Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. They have received no state grants to date.
However, the parks projects have benefited from Local Share Account and Act 13 impact fees.
“Last year, we purchased steel bleachers, four at Elementary Park and two at Community Park,” Caldwell said. “Then, we did fence repairs on ballparks at both parks and placed new fencing at the Elementary Park fields.
“The baseball leagues provided labor to assemble the bleachers, to put roofs on the dugouts, and resurface the infields. They also did some repairs and upgrading of the concession stands. The township purchased materials, and the leagues provided labor.”
The $136,000 playground was funded in part by a $47,010 donation from GameTime, the manufacturer of the equipment the township purchased.
In addition, $10,030 was donated by Fallowfield Township Lions Club. Caldwell said former Lions Club member Bob Pecko recommended that when the Lions Club disbanded it use club funds for playgrounds in township.
The remainder of the funds for the playground equipment came from Act 13 Marcellus shale impact fees.
There is still additional work at the elementary park playground, which has been delayed due to weather, Caldwell said. Split-rail fencing will be erected around the perimeter, concrete steps will be poured from the pavilion to the playground, three park benches will be erected and some trees and shrubs will be planted around the area.
The park revitalization also received community support.
“We sent out 52 flyers to companies for donations at end of last year,” Caldwell said. “We’ve received $2,000 from LaCarte Enterprises, $1,000 from 84 Lumber, $500 Gulisek Construction, $300 from Gardner Denver Nash $300 and $250 from Wib and Jeri Caldwell.”
The Pittsburgh Pirates Charities also granted $5,000, which the township will match from Act 13 impact fees to fund two electronic scoreboards.
“We also applied to the EQT Foundation for a matching grant through the Mon Valley Alliance,” Caldwell said. “We have been notified we will be receiving a grant but do not know the amount of that grant.
“That money is hopefully going to allow us to complete the pavilion, extending the pavilion so we can construct a prep kitchen, a five-foot-square gas grill and two ADA restrooms.”
The next step will be construction of a walking trail.
“And we’re looking at grants and Act 13 money for that project to begin next year,” Caldwell said.
“All of this was done with money from Act 13 impact fees, LSA grants and donations,” Caldwell said. “There were no tax dollars used.”