Pleasant Valley Park will be municipal site in Murrysville

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Pleasant Valley Park will soon become an official municipal park in the Murrysville Park system.

Council reviewed the draft of an ordinance last week that laid out the maintenance requirements for the 264-acre park located along Pleasant Valley Road, as part of its official inclusion in the municipal park system. The property, which was purchased for $634,351 in 1999, was originally intended to be home to baseball and soccer fields. But, because of the cost to develop, it never happened.

As a result, the intended use now, as described in the ordinance, is to preserve the unique mix of forest and open fields containing a diversity of flora and fauna. These natural features make the park enjoyable for a wide range of visitors, including hikers, bikers and bird watchers.

Three wildlife and nature experts have been asked to evaluate and recommend an approach to sustain the unique natural assets of the property by mowing various fields in the park on a regular basis.

"The ordinance sets forth why the park was bought and why it remains undeveloped," George Kotjarapoglus, municipal solicitor, said. "This sets up an annual review and mandates that the expenditure of manpower and funds will be minimal. Any change by this council or councils in the future will require an amendment to this ordinance or the creation of a new one."

Councilman Ron Summerhill questioned the need to provide regular mowing for a park that is to be preserved as an undisturbed natural green space. Administrator Jim Morrison explained that regular mowing will prevent the property from turning into forest.

"I don't want volunteers with mowers out there; it's too dangerous," Mr. Morrison said.

Nature experts identified 11 fields to be maintained, as well as a series of islands and buffer strips to isolate them from other areas. A rotating schedule of mowing will be followed so that each field will be mowed every three years.

Council approved advertising the ordinance, which means that adoption of the park by the municipality will be on the voting agenda in December.

Tim Means, freelance writer:

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