Donora residents pitch new park with playground

January 14, 2014
Donora residents want to recycle this playground equipment and pavilion at a closed local elementary school by putting it in a new park. - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

DONORA – A group of Donora residents envisions a new park with a walking track, basketball court and playground on an empty lot where the local junior high school once stood.

Zack Fleming said Ringgold School Board agreed to donate the playground equipment at the closed Donora Elementary Center if it meets the specifications the borough has set for the proposed park at First Street and Castner Avenue.

“I grew up by that lot,” Fleming said. “All the parks are at the other end of town.”

Fleming and another Donora resident, Tyler Menzler, approached Donora council Thursday about the new park, and agreed to inspect the playground equipment.

Donora Borough Manager Dennis Fisher said council approved a motion that night to begin construction of what will be called the First Street Community Park.

The one-acre parcel of property likely contains debris from the demolished First Street School, which was razed 20 years ago, Fisher said.

He said he will take soil samples there to determine if the ground contains any lead and asbestos remnants from the building. A company would need to be hired to remove that debris if those hazardous substances are found in the soil.

“Part of the cost would be to pull that all out,” he said, adding it was too early to determine the price of creating the park.

Fleming said the November election sparked new interest in the community about local government.

“It ignited a passion around the town,” he said. “It woke people up here that they need to get involved, and this is a good opportunity for them to come together to do something.”

In 1997, Ringgold authorized the spending of $199,000 to create playgrounds at the district’s three elementary schools. There has been some discussion about relocating the playground at the closed Monongahela Elementary Center to Ringgold Elementary School North in Gastonville.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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