East Buffalo Township Supervisors will review dozens of surveys regarding the future of Spruce Hills Park to further evaluate resident concerns and discuss the next steps.
According to Township Manager Jolene Helwig, 117 surveys were mailed to residents in Spruce Hills to gather feedback about a potential park. Surveys were to be returned by Sept. 9.
Helwig said the township received 36 yes replies, 23 no replies, and seven maybes. Sixty-six surveys were returned with 51 unreturned.
A color-coded map by the township shows that residents whose homes border the park property were against development, while those on the outskirts were overwhelmingly in favor.
Some residents expressed desires for privacy fencing, specific park hours and supervision, among other specifics.
Helwig said the township would answer questions and concerns residents had.
The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) has opened a special round of funding that ends this month and the township has plans to apply, according to Supervisor Char Gray.
Gray said it takes time to put grant proposals together and if the township did decide to move forward with the development of Spruce Hills Park, it would be smart to pursue funding avenues now.
The township applies for outside funding for numerous projects but Gray hinted supervisors are in no rush to pursue another large project.
“Taking on a third project at this time might be too much,” said Gray. “We need to do a good job on anything we submit so we get funding. Gives us a better advantage.”
Supervisors amended the 2022 budget to include a capital expense line item for $954,000 for the purchase of Turtle Creek Park from Lewisburg Alliance Church on Aug. 22.
This brings the general fund balance for the 2022 budget from $3,143,085 to $2,119,272.
East Buffalo received a $300,000 donation from the Degenstein Foundation to offset costs associated with purchasing and redeveloping the 78 acres.
“This is very important for the community to know,” said Supervisor Char Gray. “It helps taxpayers understand that the financial obligation for the township with Turtle Creek is not $954,000, but much less.”
Supervisor Jim Knight said the township is submitting a land acquisition grant for Turtle Creek Park but possible designs and plans for Turtle Creek are at least a year away.
John Del Vecchio, township resident and representative of Union County’s Planning Department said East Buffalo Township ranked last in recreational space in Union County.
Del Vecchio said with the township’s purchase of Turtle Creek, it now puts the township on par with national standards that define how many acres a municipality should have based on population.