Sun sets on summer playground

By on April 23, 2014

 Sisters saddened by the news

The tot lot playground at the Elizabeth Township municipal building in Brickerville will be a little more quiet this summer.

Township supervisors voted April 14 to discontinue the Summer Playground Program, run by Lititz recCenter staff, due to the lack of participation during the past two years.

Upon hearing the news, sisters Saige and Corinne Musser let out a disappointed, “Ohhh…” Their older sister walked the 11- and 9-year-old girls to the playground every Tuesday and Thursday morning last summer.

“We always go,” said Saige, “Except for that one year when they had it about 10 minutes away.” The program was held in the Elizabeth Township Park on Keener Road two years ago. Attendance there was not good.

The girls’ father, Jamie Musser, said that he thought the program would have been more successful given the number of developments in the area. The girls named a number of neighborhood families who had used or were planning to use the program.

They also noted that the quality of the program varied with the staff each year, with Corinne reporting, “It was better when that girl with the short hair did it.”

They understood that the staff is mostly college students whose schedules change from year to year.

Jamie said, “It was nice and handy to have it here.” His oldest daughter, Brooke, was looking forward to possibly helping out with the program some year in the near future.

Supervisor Rodney May said the program wasn’t being utilized like it had been in the past. “We averaged five to seven children recently. They played games and soccer, and did crafts. It was a good program.”

“I have grandchildren, and they went down. Sometimes it wasn’t easy to get them there. I didn’t want them traveling along 322 on their bicycles,” May said.

The program ran from 9:30 until noon, and it broke up the morning for working families who needed to find transportation to and from the playground for their children.

“When we tried it in the evening at the park on Keener Road, I don’t know if we got anybody at night. It is very hard for families to run the kids around during the day. We just weren’t getting the participation to keep it going,” May said.

The township paid the recCenter about $1,000 for the program. That amount covered the cost of two staffers, usually college students, to work with the children two mornings a week.

“I hate to put a dollars and cents value on what five to seven children are worth,” May said.

The supervisors did point out that the cancellation of the program will not affect the township’s annual donation to the recCenter.

In other township business, supervisors awarded bids for summer road work materials. “I think the bids came in about where we expected,” May said.

Road Supervisor Glenn Martin and Tim Shreiner will be busy this summer.

“They’ll widen Reifsnyder Road and go from there,” May said.

Details of the road bids are available in the official meeting minutes on the township web page, elizabethtownship.net.

Also, a public hearing was held on a proposed ordinance to amend the township’s Stormwater Management Ordinance. The ordinance had been reviewed by the Township Planning Commission. Township engineer Bob Lynn explained that projects of less than 1,000 square feet would be exempt from storm water controls. Projects from 1,000 to 2,500 square feet would be considered minor and would not require professional stormwater management plans. Projects of more than 5,000 square feet would be considered major and would require a major plan, and an erosion and sedimentation plan.

The square footage is cumulative for calculation, planning and permitting purposes. There are no agricultural exemptions. The ordinance will become effective May 7. May said this is a “mandate passed from the federal government to the state and then to us” at the local level.

Melinda Elmer is a freelance reporter who covers the Elizabeth Township municipal beat for the Record Express. She can be reached at msbelmer7@gmail.com.

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