Contractors Install Security Devices at Richards Park

LOWER POTTSGROVE PA – A portion of the Pebble Beach Lane curve in Lower Pottsgrove, adjacent to the south end of Gerald Richards Park, was closed for short periods Wednesday and Thursday (Dec. 7-8, 2022) as contractors hired by the township worked to install a utility pole. It’s intended to help police ensure the security of the surrounding area.

Manager Ed Wagner and Police Chief Rick Bell, with support from township commissioners, have worked since April to help police better monitor and patrol the park’s back end, the residential neighborhood beyond, and the south side of the Coventry Christian Academy campus. The pole, which in part will be mounted with lighting and video surveillance cameras, represents one solution.

The police, who decline to reveal their methods to prospective bad actors, are not publicly discussing other plans.

Their efforts stem from the department’s difficulty in solving an April incident in which gunshots were fired within the park, and also were suspected to be fired along the lane itself. Police later were able to confirm the shots, but no one was arrested. Corroborating physical evidence was scarce, Bell said.

Pebble Beach Lane home owners have since visited personally with commissioners and Wagner on several occasions to express concerns, and Bell has kept in touch with a list of residents by phone.

Those on Pebble Beach are not alone. The township has also heard from home owners in the nearby Walnut Ridge Estates housing complex, and renters in the adjacent Rolling Hills Apartments. They shared their worries about personal safety.

Lower Pottsgrove has an additional interest too, Wagner said during the board’s Dec. 5 meeting, in protecting investments in the park’s recently refurbished trails, recreation equipment, building, parking, and drainage systems.

Commissioners during July received three estimates on the purchase of the pole, lights, cameras, cabling, and their installation at a cost of roughly $21,000. Once approved, supply chain issues that affected local businesses also played havoc with the installation schedule. At one point, the contractor told the township it might be unable to begin work until spring.

Contractors Install Safety Devices at Richards Park

The necessary materials arrived sooner than anticipated, during mid-November. That set the stage for the work undertaken this week (at top and above).

The pole and its concrete base are being installed on township-owned park land at the north side of the curve. Workers spent much of the two-day period cutting and excavating a channel across the lane, allowing power and internet services for the pole’s devices to be cabled underground from across the street.

The light will shine into the park, without lighting spillover to disturb residents, Wagner reported. The township’s 2023 budget, which is scheduled to be adopted by commissioners during their Dec. 15 meeting at the Buchert Road municipal building, includes the cost of operating the devices for the next 12 months.

Photos by The Post

Other coverage of the Lower Pottsgrove board Dec. 5 meeting:

Contractors Install Security Devices at Richards Park
Lighting and video cameras intended to add more security to the south end of Gerald Richards Park in Lower Pottsgrove are being installed this week, and should be operational before the new year.

Township to Reaffirm Regional Parks Membership
Lower Pottsgrove commissioners plan Dec. 5 to renew their agreement to participate in regional parks planning. The legal requirement allows an eighth municipality, Washington Township in Berks County, to join the planning effort.