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Dickson Park project awaits council approval

| Sunday, Nov. 3, 2002

Dickson Park in Edgewood would get a half-court basketball court, a playground and a picnic pavilion under a comprehensive parks and recreation plan that could be approved by borough council this month.

Untouched for years, Dickson has fallen into disrepair and currently has no usable playground equipment or recreational facilities, according to a study of the borough's parks by Pashek Associates, a North Side consulting firm.

The borough's Keonig Field, by contrast, features a running track, soccer fields and tennis courts, and is heavily used by borough residents, the report said.

Dickson Park's sole piece of standing recreational equipment is an abandoned tennis court that is surrounded on three sides by a 10-foot-high chain link fence, which is also in poor condition.

The Pashek report also said that a storm destroyed many of the park's trees in 1998.

The master plan to improve Dickson Park, which also includes plans for parking spaces and a walking trail, carries a price tag of $350,000.

"It's $350,000 worth of dreams, but it is doable if we take it one section at a time," said Pat Schaefer, borough council vice president.

The borough used a $20,000 Keystone Grant and $20,000 in borough funds to pay for the study and report.

Bordered to the north by the Parkway East, the narrow 9.5-acre park is not easily accessed by borough residents.

The plan calls for a walking path to be built to allow residents to access the park from the eastern end of the park off McKelvey Road.

On the western end, borough employees currently use a gravel road which extends from Aberdeen Road to access the park, where the borough stores mulch, timber and recyclables.

The plan would keep the borough's storage facility in the park.

A parks study committee composed of residents and borough officials have to sign off on the plan, which in turn would have to be approved by borough council.

The borough currently is in the process of applying for a state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant to cover phase one of the plan, which is expected to cost $67,000.

Phase one of the project includes construction of a 5-foot-wide asphalt pedestrian trail that will link a proposed new playground in the western end of the park with the park interior.

The playground is not part of the phase one cost. But, that phase does include $12,000 for the 24-foot by 36-foot picnic pavilion.

After council approves the parks plan, it will be on display in the borough building and at the C.C. Mellor Memorial Library in Edgewood.

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