Students spruce up Lower Burrell’s Veterans Central Park
When a trip to New York City fell through, Burrell High School students decided to donate $1,000 they raised for the outing — along with their free labor — for a much-needed sprucing up of Lower Burrell’s Veterans Central Park on Monday.
“When we were younger, we used to play there and saw how it has deteriorating,” said senior Jake Hughes, 18.
He is treasurer for Burrell’s National Honor Society, who, along with the AP social studies/history classes, planned and raised money for the trip. But, alas, not enough students committed to go, making it prohibitively expensive for those interested in the trip. So, the students decided to use the money for a good cause — refurbishing a playground area they knew well.
Veterans Central Park, sandwiched between Burrell’s Stewart Elementary School and city hall along Schreiber Street, has been popular for students and youth, but over the years got run down and lost its luster.
Councilman Chris Koziarski, who oversees the city’s parks, had Veterans Central Park on his list of areas in need of work.
“The students came to us,” he said. Koziarski told them the city was “absolutely” interested and he held meetings with the students, going over the work and setting up Monday’s work day.
The New York trip money paid for paints, supplies, plants and, of course, pizza for all.
Cooler temperatures and dappled sunlight made for a good work day for some 65 students with rakes, shovels and paint brushes.
They raked debris from the tennis courts with mounds of refuse bags as testament. They painted structures that needed it: the jungle gym and several pavilions, giving the park a much cleaner and more vibrant look.
They re-purposed a former asphalt racquetball court as a colorfully painted hop-scotch grid, a maze and other games. Hughes designed the new game court.
“Hopefully, kids will play here,” he said. “It will definitely look better than a concrete slab.”
Students planted perennials around the park’s sign.
Paul Barton, with American Legion Post 868 in Lower Burrell, stopped by to see the work.
“It touches my heart that they’re willing to use their money for a veterans park,” Barton said. “Burrell students have always been good to us.”
Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, [email protected] or via Twitter .