ShareThis Page
News

Group: Fund could help pay for improvements at parks

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 4:03 p.m.

A citizens group looking to improve the Westmoreland County parks system has now offered a way of paying for it.

The Citizens Advisory Board for Westmoreland County Parks and Recreation has proposed developing a fund that could be used to pay for new programs and capital development at the county's nine parks.

The fund would be attached to the Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and supervised by the advisory board, plus at least one county commissioner acting as the governing body.

Members of the board made their pitch to the Westmoreland County commissioners earlier this week.

'We think this is a way to help the parks and give people the opportunity to help,' said Paul Heyworth of Hempfield Township, an advisory board member, on Wednesday.

The county's solicitor will review the proposed agreement. According to Commissioner Tom Ceraso, the county's concern is that new programs would be started but would later be turned over to the county to fund.

The county's parks program is one of the few services county government provides that isn't required by state or federal law. But because it isn't required, there is little or no state or federal money available to sustain the program. This year, the county plans on spending about $3 million on its parks.

Commissioner P. Scott Conner praised the idea.

'I think it's a good idea. ... It's the private sector, public sector and foundation sector working hand in hand,' he said.

The use of nonprofit organizations as foundations to supplement government functions has increased over the past few years.

'A lot of government bodies are setting up (these types of organizations). The idea is to augment and support the county parks for both facilities and the programs,' Heyworth said.

A specific fund also would provide a mechanism for the public to make donations.

In 1999, the advisory group, along with the county's Department of Parks and Recreation, reported that a survey sent to parks users revealed they wanted to see services expanded and most would be willing to pay to see it done.

In addition, it was concluded from the survey that the county's parks suffer from poor marketing and a lack of knowledge as to what programs and services are offered.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me