Since receiving a $15,000 grant from Lackawanna County on Dec. 10, 2013, South Abington Township has been hard at work upgrading its park.
The baseball area has a new infield and the outfield has been leveled with new topsoil and reseeded. The old playground equipment was removed and replaced withnew equipment over the past few weeks.
“There will be two new playground areas. The present monkey bars will be taken down, but the swings will remain,” said South Abington Township manager David O’Neill. “That section will be for ages five to 12 and will have new age-appropriate equipment. Toddlers will have a new play area in the vicinity of the toddler swings.”
The present toddler play set will remain for now, but a gazebo is planned for the area. Water equipment for younger children will be added to the splash fountain.
New basketball equipment including backboards, hoops, nets and poles have been added. The courts will be resurfaced and restriped in the coming few weeks, along with new walkways along the trail.
An additional 28 parking spots will be added in the area of the former volleyball court.
“We hope the new parking area is in place before school starts in the fall,” O’Neill said.
Rain gardens separating the two parking areas are also in the works.
The Lions Club and the fire department once held an annual carnival at the park. There was a Ferris wheel, games on the midway and loads of food. But the stress the event had on the environment proved to be too much.
“There was too much foot traffic and that was putting wear on the land plus the heavy machinery,” said Jerry Kelly, Parks, Recreation and Shade Tree Committee. “The rides would leak oil.”
South Abington Park received the Environmental Partnership award in 2002 and throughout the years, the park has been used for many events.
A British car show is held every year, as well as, Ghostlight Productions Shakespeare in the Park. Little League, softball and youth soccer teams also use the fields.
There’s a farmers market and instructional basketball. There have also been fishing tournaments, an ice skating rink, a place for skateboards, Relay for Life, a Vietnam Memorial and park day.
“The basketball courts behind the school were one of the first things that were added to the park,” said Keith Wellard a member of the Parks, Recreation and Shade Tree Committee. “Then the trail was added along with the first bridge.”
The park was closed last summer due to sewer construction.
“The park is family orientated and we want everybody to use it,” Mark Dougherty, a member of the Parks, Recreation, and Shade Tree Committee, said. “People use it not only in the Abington’s, but Scranton and other places. It is there for people to enjoy.”