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Get outside and march for Westmoreland County parks

Shirley McMarlin
| Wednesday, March 22, 2017, 9:00 p.m.
Just a few of the participants in the 2016 March for Parks at Twin Lakes Park.
Asbee Photography
Just a few of the participants in the 2016 March for Parks at Twin Lakes Park.

If you're looking for a way to have fun while getting some exercise and raising money for a good cause, the 2017 March for Parks could fit the bill. As an added bonus, there are three march locations to choose from.

The annual event, which benefits park and trail projects through Westmoreland County Parks & Recreation, will be on March 25 at Twin Lakes Park east of Greensburg, Cedar Creek Park in Rostraver and Murrysville Sportzone.

“There will be tons of activities and food at each site,” says Lauren Jones, county parks communications coordinator.

Check-in will start at 8:30 a.m. at all three locations, with the walk (which actually is optional) slated for 10:30 a.m.

There will be food and coffee to kick off the event, snacks to keep participants going and lunch before things wrap up around noon. In between, there will be activities for all ages, demonstrations and basket raffles.

Highlights will include drone flying lessons and demonstrations by Mon Valley RC Club and a paper airplane flying contest at Cedar Creek; birdhouse painting for kids, Zumba demonstrations and a mannequin challenge at Sportzone; and a caricaturist and slap bracelet-making at Twin Lakes.

This is the 15th year for the march, which originated at Twin Lakes, Jones says.

“We branched out to three locations in 2014, so this is our fourth time holding three separate events,” she says. “Last year, we had approximately 825 marchers between the three locations, and we expect around that amount this year.

“The Murrysville and Cedar Creek marches are growing rapidly and will continue to grow as our projects come to fruition, and the Twin Lakes march has always had a great turnout.”

“We're really seeing a push (in registrations) in Murrysville,” says funding coordinator Marty McGuire.

That might be because registration is inside, a bonus in bad weather, or because dogs on leashes also are welcome there.

“At Murrysville, Boy Scouts will be outside to hold the dogs while the people go in to register,” McGuire says.

Since its beginning, Jones says, the event has raised more than $707,000.

“Funds from the March for Parks have gone to projects such as the Peach Plaza Skate Park, Boundless Playground and Dog Park at Twin Lakes; the Brian T. Rusnock Amphitheater at Twin Lakes; new restroom and facilities at the RC Airfield at Cedar Creek Park; land acquisition for parks and trails, and construction of the Turtle Creek Extension of the Westmoreland Heritage Trail,” she says.

Future projects include:

• Cedar Creek Park: dog park, winter sports area and Boundless accessible playground.

• Mammoth Park: disc golf course, upgrades to the giant slide and dredging and rehabilitation of the lake.

• Northmoreland Park: BMX track lighting and athletic field improvements.

• Westmoreland Heritage Trail Turtle Creek Extension: bridge renovations and construction of 3.5 miles from Murrysville to Export.

• All parks: improvements to restrooms, parking lots, roads, walkways and facilities.

Jones notes that preregistration and the opportunity to make donations are available online for the first time this year at the county parks' website. Those making donations can designate which project they would like to support.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750 or smcmarlin@tribweb.com.

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