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Chestnut Street Playground Project Getting $195K Grant

Montgomery County Commissioners approved last week a Community Development Block Grant to help fund the rehabilitation and renovation of a community park in Souderton Borough

The Chestnut Street Playground is set to get a $195,000 Community Development Block Grant from Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Development.

The full requested amount was approved by commissioners last week. 

The construction of the playground has a focus on special needs and accessibility.

The grant will do the following, per description of the grant in the county's proposed CDBG municipal allocation document:

  • Remove old metal play equipment and replace it with new modular structure with additional separate pieces
  • Install new safety tiles to pathways constructed to American Disabilities Act guidelines
  • Refurbish existing modular play structure
  • Refurbish gazebo
  • Expand picnic area to include handicapped tables
  • Remove dangerous trees and replace with new flowering trees

The Chestnut Street Playground, also known as the Wile Avenue Playground, at Wile Avenue and West Chestnut Street in Souderton is considered a hidden treasure in the borough. Located across the street from Emmanuel Lutheran Church and Souderton Mennonite Church, it is a popular gathering place for Souderton youth and the Lutheran church's Kids Care day care program.

Yet it is in bad need of repair. The last time it was rehabilitated was about 15 years ago.

That's where Ray Hopkins, Jenn Ruggiero and Souderton Mennonite Church Pastor Gerry Clemmer come in.

The trio, along with other volunteers,

Ruggiero said the coalition is waiting for final approval of the grant. She said Souderton Borough Manager Mike Coll wrote the grant request and they will hear on final approval by the end of August.

"Once we see the grant amount, we will put that specific number out for a bid for contractors to bid on to see who will do the work that we can use the grant money for," Ruggiero said. "We hope to break ground beginning in October."

Money raised thus far by Ruggiero and Clemmer will be used to purchase other playground equipment. 

The community goal is to raise $65,000 by Fall 2012.

"We are halfway to our goal," Ruggiero said.

Recently, Home Depot refurbished the gazebo and planted and landscaped a perennial garden at the site at the corner of Bank and Chestnut streets.

The project is planned for three stages. Hopkins said in May that about $110,000 is needed to begin the first two phases.

Thus far, numerous items planned for the playground have been sponsored already and donations are still coming in to purchase other items. 

All items described can be viewed at this link.

A $750 turtle springmate has already been sponsored, as has a $1,200 handicap-accessible scarlet ladybug springmate. A $1,000 Harry the Hippo play area has also been sponsored.

Personal and community donations are being accepted to purchase a piece of park equipment and use it as a means to be dedicated as a memorial, celebration or in honor of someone special.

Eight of 10 benches have already been claimed. Sponsors are still needed for:

  • A $750 duck springmate
  • $2,000 for a handicap-accessible picnic table
  • $1,000 for a drum set play item
  • $1,200 for a speedy race car play item
  • $5,750 for a music exploration sensory play piece

Tax-deductible donations can be made through Souderton Mennonite Church, earmarked for Chestnut Street Playground. Send donations to 105 W. Chestnut St., Souderton, PA 18964. Attn: Pastor Gerry Clemmer - Playground

Donations can be made through Souderton Borough, 31 W. Summit St., Souderton, PA 18964

More details are available at www.ChestnutStPlayground.org and on the coalition's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/chestnutstplayground

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worldpeace2013 August 07, 2012 at 02:19 PM
wow! do we really need 195k????? greedy park
Kristi August 07, 2012 at 04:28 PM
This park will be used by handicap children who right now have no other option. Yes it is needed! Many people have done a lot of fund raising for this park.
Russ August 07, 2012 at 04:37 PM
That's 195k plus the fundraising efforts. I guess that is going to be one heck of a park! Kudos to them for taking the initiative and trying to secure the funding for the project. You never know till you try.

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