Cranberry buys land for parks

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Cranberry, which already has set aside hundreds of acres of parkland for recreational use as well as for preserved green space, is expanding its holdings.

Supervisors have agreed to purchase two parcels of land adjacent to the North Boundary Park, which is home to the township's swimming complex.

The parcels, 1.7 acres and 4.67 acres -- both on Goehring Road -- are to be bought from the trust of the late Marjorie M. Reynolds. The total price is $550,000.

Purchase of the land was hoped for, and anticipated, in the township's long-range parks and recreation plan.

"The former landowner, Marjorie Reynolds, told us that one day we would have the chance to buy her property," said Manager Jerry Andree.

He said the land is especially important because it will link Goehring Road and the park, meaning that pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists will have easier access to the park via Goehring Road where there is significant residential land.

In addition to furthering the township's goal of providing park access to pedestrians and bicyclists, the acquisition of property will expand the park's potential for development, Mr. Andree said, though he noted that there are no plans for what would be constructed on the property.

While there are no definite plans for construction, Mr. Andree said expansion of the township's parks was recommended in the comprehensive plan for Cranberry in light of the fact that "we will probably never acquire a new, large site (so) the planning process recommended adding to existing parks when the opportunity presented itself."

Possibilities for use of the land include community gardens, picnic areas, a sports field, and a park storage facility, he said.

The next step is conducting the various required environmental studies that must precede closing on the sale, which is anticipated by fall. The land has a horse barn and two residential structures that will be removed.

The money for the purchase was included in the 2013 capital improvement budget.

North Boundary Park was acquired in 1992, and the first phase of development opened in 1996. It has the swimming complex, three soccer fields, one baseball field and two picnic pavilions. Additional parking at the facility is be added this summer.

Mr. Andree said the township's commitment to its parks and recreation program has been identified and reaffirmed numerous times over the years, most recently with the rehabilitation of the Route 19 Community Park and with the opening of Graham Park a few years ago.

The township manager said officials see a definitive link between parks and recreation and the enhancement of quality of life which, in turn, creates an environment that's friendly to the business community.

"It's been the keystone to the township's policy toward economic development. Company after company that have located in Cranberry Township tells us they came here for our quality of life position and they want to be here as it enhances their ability to recruit employees, as their employees want to live here," Mr. Andree said.


Karen Kane: or 724-772-9180.


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