Mount Holly Springs will seek a state grant to help fund the first phase of a proposed veterans’ memorial park along Mountain Creek in a built-up area of the borough.
Borough council on Feb. 13 agreed to submit a letter of commitment pledging a local match toward a grant being sought through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The letter is an essential part of a grant application that is due to the state agency by April 27, said Joe Andreatti, the borough’s former zoning officer who is volunteering his time as project manager.
If approved, the grant will be used to fund roughly two-thirds of the estimated $61,925 of proposed Phase 1 improvements to what is now about a quarter-acre of wooded green space that runs perpendicular to Mill Street on the north side of town. The park site has roughly 400 feet of frontage along the creek.
The local match for this grant is about $20,000 — of which volunteers have already raised about $15,000 through a combination of private donations and in-kind pledges of labor, equipment and materials, Andreatti said. By providing a letter of commitment, council agreed to front the remaining $5,000 in local match.
Though the application is due in April, the grant money will only be distributed in November, and Phase 1 improvements could only begin in spring 2018, Andreatti said. This would allow council time to budget the $5,000 local match in its 2018 budget.
The veterans’ park is one of the improvements being proposed in the streetscape master plan that was prepared in 2016 by Craig Bachik, a landscape architect and project manager with Navarro & Wright Consulting Engineers Inc. of New Cumberland.
One proposal is to develop a portion of the park into two paved memorial plazas that each take on the shape of folded American flags on a conceptual park drawing. Often presented to a loved one at a funeral, a folded flag is a symbol of the ultimate sacrifice paid by those in the military.
One plaza would be near the proposed entrance to the park off Mill Street while the other plaza would be further south near pathways that lead to a handicapped fishing area and an area for picnic tables and swings.
Navarro & Wright recently prepared a scope of work, cost estimate and conceptual map for Phase 1 improvements estimated at $61,925 and Phase 2 improvements estimated at $49,950 for a total of $111,875. Phase 1 work includes:
$10,000 to install handicapped accessible porous pavement sidewalk
$9,450 to develop a handicapped accessible fishing area
$9,000 for embossed and colored concrete paving for the southernmost plaza
$6,000 to develop a handicapped-accessible quarry dust pedestrian walkway
$3,600 to excavate 120 cubic yards of soil
$3,325 to develop a handicapped accessible parking lot
$2,800 to build a coffer dam and stabilize the creek bank
$2,400 to develop a rain garden along the creek
$1,000 to clear away trees and vegetation.
To fund Phase 2 work, the borough would have to seek out other grants starting in 2018. Navarro & Wright identified the following as possible features under Phase 2:
$19,000 to develop the northernmost plaza including $9,000 for embossed, colored concrete paving and $10,000 for a sculpture.
$15,000 to develop a pergola or trellised walkway at the southernmost plaza
$4,500 to put up veterans’ banners and poles
$3,600 to build a pedestrian footbridge over a drainage area to a scenic overlook.
Letort Warehouses Inc. owns the quarter-acre proposed for the veterans’ park. Council in early 2016 approved an easement agreement with the property owner granting public access to the creek where no such access existed before in downtown Mount Holly Springs.
At the Feb. 13 meeting, Councilman Edgar Kendall asked what would happen to the easement agreement if Letort Warehouses decides to sell off the property being proposed for the park.
Borough Solicitor Mark Allshouse said the easement agreement includes legal language that makes public access a condition that remains in the chain of title and ownership of the property.