Trafford rec board plans to seek DCNR grant again
Though Trafford Council turned down a state grant for recreation last year, the Trafford Recreation Board is considering applying again to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for money to renovate Fairmont Park.
If council supports the project, this would be the second-straight year in which borough officials applied for a grant from DCNR for the playground.
An application would be the borough's first since Council decided in August to reject a $45,000 grant from DCNR to pay for half of the cost of a skate park at B-Y Park. Borough officials briefly discussed changing the project last summer to a dek hockey rink instead, but council decided not to commit to the necessary matching funds and fees because of overspending on the Trafford public safety building.
Recreation board members on Jan. 28 authorized Cheryl Kemerer, the director of the Penn-Trafford Area Recreation Commission, to begin informal work on a grant application to request $40,000 from DCNR for the playground.
Because a grant of that size would require a $20,000 match by Trafford over a three-year period, Council would have to approve the application before the state agency's April 10 deadline.
Besides Council's support, Kemerer said Trafford will have to provide documentation of the borough's ability to cover the matching funds because of the budget issues that scuttled the skate park last year.
“Unless we can show we have the matching funds, I know they won't fund it,” she said.
Still, board members said they want to pursue the grant.
“I still say we should apply because we have the need, and even if we get turned down, we'll apply again,” rec board member Destiny Wall said.
Despite the grant rejection last year, Trafford should remain visible to DCNR, Nick Petrucci said. He noted a project at Fairmont is long overdue.
“It takes the biggest beating,” Petrucci said. “It's been 10 years since we touched it.”
Board members said the project scope would be identical to the one submitted last year, including construction of a 14-foot-by-20-foot pavilion that would fit two picnic tables.
Other plans include excavating a hill near the existing entrance. Once that area is leveled off, that portion of the playground would feature a slide, swingset and a few other pieces of equipment for toddlers.
A new entrance would be created along Fairmont Avenue with a sidewalk leading to the pavilion. On the opposite side of the sidewalk would be another playground geared for older children.
A redesign of the park would make it compliant with guidelines of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and improve the layout of the equipment for safety reasons, officials have said.
Rec board reorganization
Board members voted to retain Tom Baric as president and Petrucci as vice president. They also designated Wall as secretary, Tammi DeMarchi as event coordinator and Cheryl Petersen as treasurer and liaison to council.
In making the appointments, board members said they want to continue to press borough council on the amount of control the board has over the recreation budget. Baric reiterated his argument that the rec board shouldn't have to apply to council to receive an annual grant for operating expenses.
Meanwhile, Petersen restated the rec board's disappointment that council took over the management of the recreation fund last year.
Council members have said the arrangement is required by law, but rec board members said they haven't received any budget information about the fund since October.
“I will take (the treasurer's position) so we can get the damn checkbook back,” Petersen said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.