Canton Township moves forward on park expansion

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Members of the Canton Township parks and recreation committee last week presented plans for expanding the municipal park at the corner of Jefferson and Mark avenues in Wolfdale.


Committee member Rick Zatta showed the township supervisors design drawings for the park, which now has a small parking area, a pavilion and some playground equipment. Zatta and other parks and recreation volunteers want to install a merry-go-round, toddler and teen swings, a larger pavilion, walking trail and a few dozen trees. Zatta asked supervisors for additional funding because the parks and recreation board has spent its $14,000 annual budget on new equipment for the park.


Supervisor Sam Bear cited rising costs in road maintenance as a reason he was hesitant to allocate more funding.


“Some residents may ask, ‘What are you spending money on a park for?’” Bear said. “You can’t drive on a park.”


Zatta said the parks and recreation board spent more money than anticipated on equipment because it received a package deal. Instead of buying and installing the equipment over a number of years, the retailer made the township “a deal we couldn’t refuse” that included free equipment. Zatta said he was looking for corporate sponsorship and donations to help fund the rest of the project.


Supervisor Jack Sheppard was in favor of putting more amenities in the park, regardless of cost.


“We have 9,000 residents and we don’t have a park,” Sheppard said. “If it was up to me, I’d give you back the $14,000 you spent for the equipment. We want the citizens of this township to have a park and it’s more of a shame that we have 40 acres to build a park.”


Sheppard’s words may have moved his two colleagues, because in the end the supervisors voted unanimously to move an additional $15,000 from the general fund into the parks budget. However, the vote came with a caveat.


“Just know that we will make this motion not to exceed $15,000,” Supervisor Robert Franks said. “But next year you will not get even close to that.”


Franks said the board would have to consider reducing park funding next year to make up for the unexpected upfront costs that occurred this year.


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