Facelift coming for Rothsville park

By on April 15, 2015

Pickleball is coming to Rothsville.

And that’s not all.

The Warwick Township Lion’s Park in Rothsville is getting a $131,000 facelift, and one of the highlights will be two new pickleball courts for the ever-growing base of avid pickleball players in the Warwick area.

“The Lion’s Club Park has not been renovated for quite some time,” said Warwick Township manager Dan Zimmerman at a recent Warwick Township supervisors meeting.

Earlier in April, supervisors agreed to apply for a $65,500 grant from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to cover nearly half of the costs. The work would be done by Warwick Township public works crews, and demolition is already underway to prepare for the park if the grant comes through.

These two sand surfaced volleyball courts will be reduced to one volleyball court. The park is being regraded from two levels to one to make it safer.

These two sand surfaced volleyball courts will be reduced to one volleyball court. The park is being regraded from two levels to  one to make it safer.

According to Cory Van Brookhoven, author of “Warwick Township, Lancaster County,” the park most likely got its start in the late 40s, when the Warwick Township Lion’s Club constructed a meeting building in the park located on Twin Brook Road in Rothsville. The club was founded around 1940.

“That building became an eyesore, so it was torn down,” said Burnell Forney, who was a member and secretary of the club.

That was around 1981. After that, the club met at the now-demolished Chimney Corner Restaurant on East Main Street. The closing of the Chimney Corner in the mid-2000s marked the end of the Warwick Township Lion’s Club. Members were getting older and the club disbanded. Ted Hevener was one of the younger members, who joined Lititz Lions Club. Another younger member joined Akron, recalls Forney.

The Lion’s Club Park in Rothsville kept its original name, even after Warwick Township took over the park in 1993. The park has has two entrances, one on Church Street and the other on Twin Brook Road, both with parking lots.

Warwick Township planner Billy Clauser said that the update is long overdue.

“The park is a community asset that is not being utilized because it is falling apart,” he said. “This project will make the park useful again.”

The two new pickleball courts are likely to be a big attraction, for the sport that is especially popular with the senior set.

Two pickleball courts will be constructed  after this old basketball court is regraded.  A new basketball court will also be created. It's been nearly 15 years since significant work was done to the park. (Photos by Laura Knowles)

Two pickleball courts will be constructed after this old basketball court is regraded. A new basketball court will also be created. It’s been nearly 15 years since significant work was done to the park. (Photos by Laura Knowles)

Pickleball is a paddle sport for all ages and skill levels that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. It is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly modified tennis net, using a paddle and a plastic ball. The game was invented in 1965 near Seattle, when three fathers wanted to entertain their kids with a simple game with simple equipment &tstr; just a net, ball and paddles.

“Knowing the popularity of pickleball, it seemed like a good idea to construct pickleball courts,” said Clauser.

The two courts will be located on the large flat surface at the Lion’s Park, where the basketball court was once located. The surface will be regraded to be at one level. There will also be a full-size basketball court. On the upper level, the two sand surfaced volleyball courts will be reduced to one volleyball court. There will be an inline hockey court set on the upper level that is accessed from Church Street.

As Clauser noted, the design by ELA Group will make the park more suitable to the needs of those seeking recreation. It will also bring the park up to par with the Forney Polo Field, which was updated several years ago for polo matches and soccer fields.

The Warwick Township website currently lists the Lion’s Park as having a softball field, an under-10 soccer field, two tennis courts, an outdoor street hockey rink, and two sand volleyball courts. The renovation will adjust those areas by adding the pickleball courts and moving the basketball court and hockey court.

The pavilion and playground at Warwick Township’s Lions Club Park will remain. The summer playground program will be on hold during construction.

The pavilion and playground at Warwick Township’s Lions Club Park will remain. The summer playground program will be on hold during construction.

The softball and multi-purpose field will remain. So will the picnic pavilion and the kid’s playground that has a carousel, swing set, sliding board and other equipment. There is also a restroom facility that is open when an event is held at the pavilion. The restroom facility came from a contribution by Carrie Wertz, recognizing her husband, Roy F. Wertz, who was a founding member of the Lions Club.

Warwick Township acquired the park from the Warwick Township Lion’s Club in June of 1993. The Lions Club deeded the park to the township for use within the township’s park system. In August of 1993, the township acquired an additional four acres of land from Richard Trees. In July of 1995, the Warwick Township Recreation Advisory Committee adopted a master plan for the park. In the Spring of 2000, final improvements were made. Efforts were also made to improve the park by Jeremy Fryburg and Boy Scout Troop 142, as part of an Eagle Scout project.

It’s been nearly 15 years since significant work was done to the park.

“This work is just getting started and should take about two years,” said Clauser, adding that currently, the park is being regraded to eliminate the two levels and make it safer.

In the meantime, the summer playground program sponsored by the Lititz recCenter will be on hold during construction.

“When it’s done, Warwick Township will have a newly updated Lion’s Park in Rothsville,” said Clauser.

And two new pickleball courts.

Laura Knowles is a local freelance writer. She welcomes reader feedback at lknowles21@gmail.com.

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