Rain or shine, officials plan to snip a ribbon to open a $2.169 million-plus project, Cross Creek County Park’s Thompson Hill boat launch and recreation area, at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The development on the West Middletown side of the park – with a playground, shelter, camp-stove grills, rest rooms and playground – is designed to complement similar features that have long been accessible from Route 50.
The county’s contract with General Industries of Speers was $1.734 million, which included repaving the road from Route 844, constructing the launch, paving a parking lot and building rest rooms and a shelter. County workers constructed drainage ditches for the road, excavated the playground and assembled $325,915 worth of new playground equipment from Jeffrey Associates of Indianola, Allegheny County.
The woodland-themed playground integrated two different types of Playworld systems, and includes plastic logs and imitation tree stumps.
“It worked. It looks cool,” said Lisa Cessna, executive director of the Washington County Planning Commission, which oversees county parks.
State taxpayers footed part of the bill through a $320,857 Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant. The remainder of the project was paid for from oil and gas revenues generated from county properties.
Preparation for the development of Thompson Hill began in earnest five years ago when the county paid $74,990 to Civil Environmental Consultants Inc. to design the site, complete a wetland and stream delineation report for the Department of Environmental Protection and obtain a permit for excavation.
Those who intend to use the boat ramp need a permit issued by the Washington County Department of Parks and Recreation. Fees are $7.50 for county residents and $10 for nonresidents, per boat. A single permit grants access to both Cross Creek lake and the launch the county maintains at Ten Mile Creek County Park.
Cross Creek Lake is open to watercraft with motors of 10 horsepower or less, but rowboats, canoes and kayaks also require a permit to launch.
Docking of boats at Cross Creek Lake is only for launching and retrieving boats.
For those who prefer to cast a line from somewhere other than land or boat, Backyard Construction, a subcontractor for General Industries, built a fishing pier.
Upon completion of the ceremony, the public will immediately have access to the new development. There was no word if the county commissioners or other dignitaries would be making the maiden voyage from the new launch.
“The county’s patrol and rescue boat will be parked there,” Cessna said.