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Plot could get park designation in North Huntingdon

| Thursday, May 16, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

North Huntingdon officials will consider designating as a park a 22-acre plot of land adjacent to Falcon Ridge housing plan.

The “park” designation would make it easier for officials to enforce township rules and regulations at the property located off Ipnar Road, township manager John Shepherd said.

The township obtained the land from the Falcon Ridge developer in 2001.

“The township agreed to take the piece and pretty much keep it as a green space,” Shepherd said. “Based on what the property was designated for under the deed, it made sense to call it a park even if it's passive.”

The land could be used for recreation or education, he said.

Over the years, officials have fielded complaints about people riding all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes on the land.

“People (are) using the property for things that otherwise weren't anticipated,” Shepherd said. “We've had some difficulty enforcing rules and regulations.”

Signs could be placed in the area to control dirt bike and ATV traffic, he said.

“I don't have a problem with it,” board of commissioners president Lee Moffatt said. “The only downside is when you say it's a park, people are going to be saying, ‘What kind of park is this? Where's the trails? Where's the swing set?'”

Shepherd said the township has taken similar action in years past, citing land near Sunset Valley as an example.

If the township develops the land, it could discuss access points for visitors, Shepherd said.

“Maybe there's an opportunity to do some trails,” he said.

Officials will consider naming the park, Shepherd said, which could be as simple as “Falcon Ridge Park.”

Commissioner Brian West suggested seeking citizen input.

In keeping with the effort to control ATV and dirt bike traffic on township land, police bought two dirt bikes. Officers plan to ride the vehicles to cite ATV riders in township parks and to enforce park ordinances.

The traffic from off-road vehicles has damaged parks, and the offenders ignore signs forbidding them, township police chief Andrew Lisiecki told commissioners last month.

Police have already added the two dirt bikes to the fleet, but officers are awaiting training requirements, Lisiecki said.

Since police announced their plans to patrol by dirt bike, Lisiecki said they're receiving fewer complaints about riders in the parks.

Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or rskena@tribweb.com.

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