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Crucial Meeting Ahead For Township’s Pleasantview Park

Open fields that, someday, will become Lower Pottsgrove's Pleasantview Park.

POTTSTOWN PA – Planning is under way now for the future – maybe, a distant future – of Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township’s newest park. Its location, on North Pleasant View Road land purchased in 2008 from the Pottsgrove School District, is already set. However, what it could look like, how it will be used, and the amount of traffic it might attract, all are open to public discussion.

Much like the process last year that involved residents in the township’s Woodgate housing community for the layout of Snell and Norton Park, the talks about what is now known as Pleasantview Park are expected to be held monthly through April (2011). The next, and perhaps most crucial, meeting is scheduled for Jan. 25 (2011; Tuesday) at 6:30 p.m. in Sunnybrook Ballroom, 50 Sunnybrook Rd., Sanatoga PA.

Two earlier meetings, in November and December 2010, respectively, served to re-introduce park and landscape experts, Norristown PA-based Simone Collins, with which the township has worked for many years; to explain the park’s terrain (mostly level and open) and adjacent land uses; and to gather initial thoughts about perceived recreational needs.

The effort is already somewhat controversial. Some property owners near the intersection of North Pleasant View and Bleim roads (the park’s 17.9 acres are sited at its northwest corner) have concerns about lighting, traffic control, parking, vandalism, and maintenance issues. Residents Scott and Beth Houting, 1880 N. Pleasant View Rd., circulated a letter to neighbors saying the park’s development was “forever destroying the open space we now have to enjoy.”

Three initial concepts for the park (see the accompanying renderings), produced by Simone Collins for the December meeting, show it has the potential to be a very busy place.

Concept 1 for Pleasant View Park ...

For starters, all three designs anticipate the relocation of Bleim Road about 400 feet south from its current T-intersection with North Pleasant View to align with North Sanatoga Road. Township officials say moving the road reduces some congestion, makes driving and maintenance easier, and also increases the park’s size by about a third.

The space gets put to use primarily as playing fields. Concept 1 focuses on baseball and softball diamonds, which could also accommodate soccer fields. Concept 2 adds youth T-ball fields to that mix. Concept 3 provides the least space for soccer, but more for Little League and baseball.

... Concept 2 ...

Critics say the active sports emphasis could, particularly on weekends, make the area as congested as Gerald Richards Park, almost twice the size of Pleasantview and located less than a mile south at North Pleasant View and Buchert roads. Advocates respond that the Richards fields now are overly crowded and in some cases inadequate. Not surprisingly, the township is having Simone Collins look at re-building Richards, which also is part of the discussion that continues Jan. 25.

... and Concept 3.

All three Pleasantview concepts also currently include a clubhouse that would feature meeting rooms, restrooms and a snack bar; a fitness loop trail around the perimeter; a children’s playground; field house and storage facilities; and parking for about 200 vehicles. Two of the three concepts call for tennis courts. One offers an unprogrammed play field. Another includes a “multi-use field” covered by artificial turf.

All of these amenities cost money, which is in short supply not only in Lower Pottsgrove but in municipalities across the state. For that reason alone, development of Pleasantview Park could be five or more years away. “It depends on how much money we get in grants, and from sports organizations,” township Assistant Manager Alyson Elliott told the Board of Commissioners last month.

As the concepts envision, Pleasantview Park also depends primarily on the relocation of Bliem Road, and that probably won’t happen unless an already approved community of more than 150 new homes is built on vacant fields stretching southwest from the existing corner of North Pleasant View and Bliem. Given the state of the current real estate market, it too could be years away.

With the concepts now out for review, Simone Collins is asking for feedback and comments. If you’ve got an opinion, send it to Elliott by e-mail, aelliott@lowerpottsgrove.org, by Jan. 12.

Related (to Pleasantview Park development):

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