Unity supervisors propose upgrade, wider access at Charter Oak playground | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Unity supervisors propose upgrade, wider access at Charter Oak playground

Jeff Himler
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Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
A recently renovated pavilion stands in contrast to the deteriorated wooden playground apparatus that has been closed at the Charter Oak residential plan in Unity.

Kids in Unity could gain another place to have summertime fun if the township receives a state grant to update a deteriorating playground in the Charter Oak housing plan.

Unity supervisors this week agreed to cooperate with the Charter Oak Civic Association to apply for the project grant and to provide in-kind services for storm water management at the site on Lyn Way, off Benvenue Drive.

In return, the playground, originally developed for families in the residential plan, would be opened for use by all children in the township, and for recreational programs Unity offers through a partnership with the Greensburg YMCA.

The Charter Oak association will maintain the playground and provide insurance coverage, township solicitor Gary Falatovich said. He said the project is expected to cost a little more than $58,000, most of which would be covered by the grant from the Department of Community and Economic Development. The civic group would be responsible for a 15% local match.

The group sought the township’s assistance, Falatovich said, adding, “It seemed to be a win-win situation. Township tax dollars are not being invested in it.”

Word on the success or failure of the grant application should be coming in a few weeks, he said. If it is approved, funding would be available in September.

While an adjacent pavilion has been renovated, Charter Oak park manager Bill Hogel said the wooden playground apparatus — including a bridge — is about 30 years old, is no longer safe for children to use and was cordoned off this season.

“A lot of it is dry-rotted and bug-infested,” he said. “A person could get hurt if they were climbing across the bridge. The braces holding it up are coming apart.”

Township Supervisor Ed Popovich said the equipment being sought for the playground will be made of a more durable polymer material.

The Charter Oak park also includes a swimming pool, a basketball court and space for kickball.

“On weekends, the place is packed,” Hogel said, noting the housing development has benefited from a recent influx of young families.

“There’s a ton of children in the area,” he said. “When the children are down there swimming, they want to play in the park.”

The township operates four playgrounds — one each in Pleasant Unity and Marguerite and two near the township municipal building on Beatty County Road.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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