The recently renovated park at the heart of the borough was recognized in the Public Space category of the organization’s 2019 Great Places in Pennsylvania program. The awards recognize sites that “have a sustainable vision for the future and serve as a model for other communities,” according to an announcement.
“I think it is one of the prettier town centers that I’ve been in, at least around Western Pennsylvania,” said Ligonier Mayor Butch Bellas. “It’s a very people-friendly park. I’m proud of how it has turned out.”
The association cited Diamond Park’s accessibility for people of all ages and “connectivity to the downtown,” as well as such unique features as its copper-domed gazebo that functions as a bandstand, dimmable lamp posts and a walkway snow-melt system.
Diamond Park is “a treasure that contributes to the charm of Ligonier Borough” and an inviting space for community events — such as Fort Ligonier Days, the Ligonier Ice Fest and the Summer Band Concert Series — that spur economic activity while attracting both residents and visitors, according to the planning association.
The $3.5 million renovation project, dedicated in October, included new stone veneer, new flooring and wider stairs for the bandstand. Steel sectional units increased the park’s seating capacity by about 30%.
The renovation “has actually enlarged the area for the people to assemble,” Bellas said. “That’s a good thing. As time progresses, there will be more people visiting us.”
During a recent Antiques on the Diamond event at the park, he said, there was more room than in the past for visitors to browse vendor booths.
“It wasn’t crowded to the point where you couldn’t walk around,” he said.
The borough isn’t finished tweaking the park’s appearance. Two of eight large trees that were planted in the park as part of the renovation are dying and likely will be replaced after Fort Ligonier Days, set for Oct. 11-13, Bellas said.