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Public input on parks benefits all: Editorial

Posted 2/11/20

We were pleased that the residents of Lower Swatara Township recently were given the ability to provide feedback on the future of their parks, in an open public meeting.

About 15 people attended …

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Public input on parks benefits all: Editorial

Posted

We were pleased that the residents of Lower Swatara Township recently were given the ability to provide feedback on the future of their parks, in an open public meeting.

About 15 people attended the event on the evening of Jan. 30. They were able to walk around and place suggestions that they had on yellow Post-it notes and them attach them to boards around the room representing each park.

Suggestions included constructing a dog park, adding biking and walking trails, increasing pollinator areas in as many parks as possible, and upgrading basketball courts.

Lower Swatara officials and its consulting engineering firm HRG were on hand as well, and HRG had a long list of suggestions based on its studies of the park system.

These are the types of public meetings we like to see, because residents get buy-in. They can help shape the future of their township, and that benefits everyone. After all, these are the people who will be using these parks.

How this meeting was handled is in sharp contrast to how Middletown is handling the replacement of Kids Kastle at Hoffer Park. The public has not been asked for input on Little Middletown, Mayor James H. Curry III’s idea to replace Kids Kastle, which had to close because it deteriorated to the point it couldn’t be used safely.

Middletown was expected to learn in January if it received $462,100 for the new playground area using federal money obtained through the Land and Water Conservation Fund, but that has not happened yet. Little Middletown has an estimated price tag of $924,205. 

But let us remember, too, that Middletown is also evaluating all of its parks, and it’s not too late for you to take a Park Input Survey.

The effort started in November and will continue into the spring.

Complete the survey by going to middletownborough.com or the borough Facebook page.

The survey asks residents about which park they use the most, how often, and when; how they get there; and what features they use most at the park and which features they use least.

The survey also asks what park residents go to outside of Middletown, and what activities they do at these other parks.

Borough Manager Ken Klinepeter said survey results will be incorporated into a grant the borough plans to apply for toward improvements at all the parks.

We hope that the borough will consider holding a public event like the one in Lower Swatara as well.

We love the idea of buy-in for all residents to enjoy parks across this area for decades to come.