North Strabane readies park for grand opening June 30

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Six years in the making, the North Strabane Township Municipal Park will open to the public June 30 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. The celebration will continue throughout the day and conclude at 9:45 p.m. with a 16- to 18-minute pyrotechnic display by Zambelli Fireworks.

The park is built on nearly 70 acres adjacent to the municipal building along Route 519. The land already had a basketball court, baseball field, two pavilions and a multipurpose field, said J. Gregory Sulc, parks and recreation director.

The $8.1 million first phase of the park project added three baseball fields, a multipurpose playing field with a $1 million synthetic surface and seating for 2,000, three large pavilions with an adjacent, fully equipped kitchen and three medium pavilions.

A children's playground is situated, for safety, away from playing fields and parking. It is equipped with a variety of slides, a climbing rope and wall.

"The entire park is networked with about a mile of asphalt walking and biking trails lined with shade trees and benches," Mr. Sulc said.

Planners incorporated many environment-friendly features, such as picnic tables, trash receptacles and message boards made from recycled plastic. Each picnic table is made from 1,100 one-gallon milk containers.

The parking lots drain into a rain garden, which eliminates the need for piping. To generate electricity, park administrators are also considering a plan to construct two windmills on an adjacent hill. "My goal as director is to have sufficient energy to power not only the park but also our municipal building and other facilities on the site," Mr. Sulc said.

Calling the community the "Cranberry of the south," Mr. Sulc said North Strabane is the fastest-growing township in Washington County. The new park will serve North Strabane's 13,500 residents, but also will be open to residents of other municipalities.

The first phase was funded by a municipal bond issue and aided by a $280,000 grant from the state. Planning for the second phase is under way and may include a recreation building in cooperation with the YMCA.

"The board of supervisors looks forward and takes great pride in the grand opening of municipal park," said township manager Frank Siffrinn. "This $8.1 million investment represents a major commitment by the township in response to increased growth and recreation needs of the area and our residents ... ."

A full day of entertainment has been scheduled to follow the ribbon-cutting ceremony. A Kidz Korner will be open from noon to 9 p.m. with free interactive entertainment, and the Land of Inflatables will include a trackless train, a moon bounce, inflate-a-hoops and an obstacle challenge.

The Washington Wild Things baseball team will sponsor an additional area of inflatables with an appearance from its mascot, Wild Thing; a strolling clown will create balloon art and tattoos; and Wendy's Restaurant will have giveaways and games with Ms. Wendy.

Live entertainment kicks off at noon with 2012 "American Idol" contestant Adam Brock, followed by the New Orleans Riverside band at 2 p.m., singers from the Accelerando Music Conservatory performing pop hits at 5 p.m. and 33 & 1/3, featuring local guitarist Tim Grealish and his band doing hits from the '60s and '70s. Mr. Brock, of Washington, Pa., is the first local singer to reach 'Idol's' top 24.

Admission and parking are free. Food vendors will offer refreshments.

For a complete schedule of opening-day events:

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Dave Zuchowski, freelance writer:


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