SANATOGA PA – Water drainage problems that for years have plagued Lower Pottsgrove’s second-largest and most-used recreation area, Gerald Richards Park on Buchert Road, are being thoroughly re-examined by the township Parks and Recreation Board with help from engineering firm Bursich Associates on East High Street.
Their goal: “fix them,” board member Rich Wood puts it bluntly.
Bursich President Scott Exley told the Board of Commissioners his company began working with parks and recreation volunteers in May (2014) “to look at the kitchen sink; instead of seeing things piecemeal as sometimes happened in the past, we’re reviewing everything as if we’ve just started from scratch.”
It may be a task as big as the 30-acre park itself, Wood has reported to commissioners. Instead of running off and away from playing fields, water tends to pool and pond in certain areas and makes them unusable after a moderate or heavy rain. The problems have primarily affected soccer and baseball, Wood said, but they also put a damper on general public enjoyment of the park.
Similar problems exist at the upper level of the larger (54 acres) but less-used Sanatoga Park on North Park Road.
Bursich’s initial work, according to Exley, will attempt to determine what must be done at Richards and where, and estimate its costs.
For its part, Wood said, the Parks and Recreation Board is refocusing its efforts “to get a plan in place, seek grants to help pay for the work, and fix the problems. We’ve got to get a handle on trying to manage the storm water, and we need to tackle challenges like it with the resources we have.”
Among those resources are youth sports associations that work closely with and provide financial support to maintain and improve the fields. Wood said Parks and Recreation hopes to further strengthen those ties in coming years.
- The Pottsgrove Soccer Club is one of several groups that take an active role to care for and invest in the fields. Its busy fall intramural season opens Sept. 6 (Saturday). Players certainly are hoping for consistently good weather.
Parks and Rec also is shifting away from earlier plans to develop or enhance acres of open space the township purchased or received as gifts during the past decade. They money for such projects just isn’t available, Wood acknowledged, and the board’s intent is to make its programs self-sustainable.
Commissioners pledged their support. “These fields get utilized a lot,” Commissioner Stephen Klotz agreed during June. “Anything we can do to help you, you let us know,” he said. His colleague, James Kaiser, also thanked Wood for his enthusiasm. “I don’t think we could ask for anyone better to head this up,” Kaiser said.
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