Improvements planned for parks in Cranberry
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The future of parks and recreation development in Cranberry will involve reinvestment in the existing park system -- the direction pointed in a new long-range plan adopted by township supervisors last Thursday following months of study, public input and deliberation.
Translated into concrete terms, the recreational horizon includes a new baby pool at the North Boundary Park, a new playground to replace Playtime Palace at the Route 19 Community Park, playground equipment at the township's newest Graham Park, and more trails to accommodate walkers and bikers.
It's about making what Cranberry has better, said township strategic planning director John Trant Jr.
"First and foremost, we'll continue to invest in the system we currently have, making sure our facilities can accommodate current and future high use," Mr. Trant said.
Public input showed a desire for walking trails and more space for court sports such as basketball and tennis. Both will be added to Graham Park on Rochester Road. As part of the development of the long-range rec plan, the township set its goals for Graham Park and Linder Park, which is adjacent to the Route 19 Community Park.
The next investment in Graham Park will involve construction of courts, erection of playground equipment and development of more walking trails.
As for Linder Park, which includes the township's Cranberry Rotary Dog Park, the future will hold a sledding hill, a small amphitheater and walking trails, and it also may make use of an existing farmhouse and barn as a setting for some sort of historical display. Mr. Trant said the goals have no time frame and no budgetary allocation.
Mr. Trant said implementation of the plan will commence as funding is available. He said he expects construction of a baby pool at the North Boundary Park swimming complex to be part of next year's capital plan.
Also, the replacement of Playtime Palace -- the large wooden play structure at the center of the Route 19 Community Park -- is set to be razed and replaced next year. Cranberry Township Community Chest, a nonprofit group, has made the replacement project a top priority for 2013. Cranberry CUP, another local nonprofit, has pledged to assist in the project. Cranberry Manager Jerry Andree has estimated the replacement project at a minimal of $500,000. The township will tap into $900,000 savings from a winter bond refinancing to pay for construction of the baby pool at the 16-year-old swimming complex.
The township also will be looking in all areas for opportunities to build trails, Mr. Trant said. "It was the No. 1 priority expressed by the public," he noted.
While funding will determine much of the pace of implementation of the township's parks and recreation, development of trails sometimes can involve nominal financial investment. For example, Mr. Trant said, an on-road bike route from the border with Marshall to Rochester Road, a 1.5-mile length that follows roads like Commonwealth Drive and Haine School Road, is in the works. Within the next few weeks, sharrows -- shared arrows -- will be painted on the road, indicating that it is a route accessed by bicycles.
"This is minimal money -- basically, the cost of paint and manpower," Mr. Trant said.
In addition to more trails, the public identified an indoor recreational facility -- the type that could be used for soccer and lacrosse -- as a top desire. No money has been allocated for such a project, he said.
According to statistics compiled by the township, Cranberry's parks system attracted 455,610 visitors in 2010 -- a number that rose to 460,839 in 2011 The swimming complex had an average of about 700 people each day during the pool seasons between 2007 and 2011.
The township's athletic fields host about 3,000 events annually.
First Published August 9, 2012 5:34 am