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Fix near, Moraine beach reopening expected

| Saturday, July 12, 2014, 3:36 p.m.
Keith Hodan | Tribune-Review
Yellow caution tape at the Pleasant Valley Beach Swimming Area at Moraine State Park prevents swimmers from accessing the water, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. The area has been closed due to a sewage system rehabilitation project.

A sewer-replacement project that closed Moraine State Park's Pleasant Valley Beach Swimming Area should be finished in a month and allow the beach to re-open, park Manager Dustin Drew said.

“All the lines have been replaced; we're just waiting on the pumping station part to be completed,” Drew said.

The Pleasant Valley Beach Swimming Area on the south shore of Lake Arthur has been closed since April to replace sewer lines and a pumping station that were original to the park.

Sewer lines connected to three bathrooms, the concession station and a changing house with showers are being replaced. The lines are about 40 years old, Drew said. The goal is to reduce stormwater from entering the park's wastewater treatment system.

The smaller Lakeview Swimming Area on the park's North Shore is open to swimming. Drew said it tends to be a more popular swimming spot because it has more sand.

The Pleasant Valley Beach is a 1,200-foot-long beach of grass and sand that has a sand volleyball court and playground on the west side of the beach. The playground, volleyball court and picnic areas have been open during the construction.

The construction project caused south shore beach-goers to explore other areas of the park.

Since the south shore swimming area has been closed, said Joanne Kapp, a volunteer with the nonprofit Moraine Preservation Fund, she has noticed more traffic on the north shore with people looking for the Lakeview swimming area and coming across the fund's Owlet Gift Shop and boat tours.

“More people are discovering the north shore,” Kapp said. “We do boat tours on the lake, and people didn't even know we were here. We have a lot more people stopping in.”

The sewage system rehabilitation project is part of Enhance Penn's Woods, a two-year, $200 million effort launched by Gov. Tom Corbett to improve Pennsylvania's state parks and forests, according to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

The Moraine State Park project cost about $318,000. Chivers Construction of Fairview was awarded the bid.

“At this point, it's as soon as possible,” Drew said. “It's not quite day-to-day, but it's week-to-week. We're keeping our options open to get it back on line.”

The funding for Enhance Penn's Woods project comes from sources like the Keystone Fund, Environmental Stewardship Fund, Oil and Gas Lease Fund, Snowmobile/ATV Fund, Dirt and Gravel Road Allocation and the Forestry Bridge Account.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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