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Fall is always a beautiful time of year in our Town Park. While the draught this summer is causing the leaves to fall prematurely, the color has been one of the best in recent years. It has been warm enough for the pickleball courts to be in use even as the light fades earlier. Much work is being done behind the scenes, so keep your eyes open for new amenities in 2021.

Canonsburg Town Park proved to be essential to the residents during the pandemic this summer. The 52 acres in the center of Canonsburg was a great asset to the community. Town Park provided young and old the opportunity to enjoy some normalcy while facing the pandemic. The pool, skateboard park, athletic fields, basketball and pickleball courts provided recreational activity. The pathways, although in desperate need of repair, provided adequate opportunity for a leisurely walk. According to the National Recreation and Park Association, exercising in parks was essential to maintaining mental and physical health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyone worked together to ensure the park remained open. To combat COVID-19, the park followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Throughout the generations, families of Canonsburg and surrounding communities have enjoyed Town Park. Residents have created everlasting memories and celebratory events such as birthday parties, graduation parties, family reunions and even the occasional wedding. In attracting new families to Canonsburg, we must consider parks and schools as priorities for those looking to call Canonsburg home. Parks enhance property value, attract new home buyers and provide economic benefits, not to mention physical and mental health benefits. Unfortunately, funding is difficult due to other budgetary constraints, but the Friends of the Park is continuously looking for grants and other private funding sources.

Unfortunately, revitalization requires revenue. Canonsburg Town Park's future is in the hands of the Borough of Canonsburg, Park and Recreation Board, and the nonprofit Friends of Canonsburg Town Park. Together, we are determined to improve and maintain the park. The VFW Post 191 Pavilion located near the Velma Jeffreys Playground is a beautiful example of collaboration to upgrade the park.

The Friends of the Park has submitted a grant request to the local share account for a much needed public restroom building adjacent to the new VFW 194 Pavilion. We are also requesting new ADA compliant guard rails, handrails, walkways, conduits, bioswales (water containment portals that minimize standing water issues, thus reducing the spread of stagnant water-born diseases) and new playground equipment with more handicap accessible amenities.

The revitalization of the Canonsburg Town Park is ongoing. Providing opportunities for healthy living is essential to our residents.

Simply put, parks are good medicine. Stay safe – go outside and play!

New VFW Post 191 Pavilion

The new pavilion is mostly complete and will be ready to rent in spring 2021. The dedication will appropriately be on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. While the location was challenging as it required significant excavation, water, and electrical line movements, we feel it is the best place to add comfort and convenience to the park's front entrance by the Velma Jeffery's Playground. The decision to name it the VFW Post 191 Pavilion in honor of the members who have always supported the park was an easy choice to make. Without their help over the years, our park would not have thrived, and we are grateful for their support.

A much-requested drinking fountain will be installed, and it is no ordinary fountain. It has a water bottle filling station, an adult and youth drinking spout and a dog watering bowl at the bottom. It will also have a spigot for a hose to be used in conjunction with the pavilion.

LSA grant focus: new unisex/family restroom building 

Our goal is to add permanent restrooms next year. In the meantime, there will be an upscale port-a-potty replacing the existing one. There are still some amenities we would like to add to the project. Let us know if you are interested in helping out with either volunteering or in the cost of landscaping, camera and other amenities. Friends of the Park ran a picnic table fundraiser and sold out! Thanks to the members of the community that were able to contribute. We believe this will get a ton of use, being at the entrance to Town Park, especially since it is next to the playground. Once all the enhancements are completed, this pavilion will be an excellent rental. It is approximately half the size of the Yoney Pavilion and will hold around 40-60 people.

Pickleball

The pickleball courts have become very crowded as the popularity of the sport continues to grow. Once the area entered the yellow stage of the pandemic, the courts were permitted to open. Pickleball provided some normalcy to our residents as well as those from other regions. In following with the CDC guidelines, social distancing and masks were required while waiting to play. The second season on the courts has been an enormous success. The original Canonsburg Pickleball Club, unfortunately, has maxed out at 100. The requests for membership has affected club playing time. However, the courts are available for 72 hours of open play and 17 hours for club play. This gives the residents of Canonsburg and surrounding communities plenty of time to enjoy pickleball. The courts have also seen an increase in younger players. The free pickleball clinic and youth day sponsored by the Canonsburg Pickleball Club and Friends of Canonsburg Park was an excellent opportunity for the younger players. The participants received seven weeks of instruction and competitive play. Youth day participants also received a club shirt.

Donations from Slovenian Savings & Loan, Washington Financial Bank of Canonsburg, Range Resource, David Holliday, Robert & Melisse Osterman, Jeffreys Drug Store, Canonsburg General Hospital, Sarris Candies and JD Engraving supported the Youth Day. The Canonsburg Pickleball Club is very proud of the courts and is committed to maintaining and improving its area.

The recently restored parking lot by the Borough of Canonsburg has completed the complex. Visiting players are impressed with the facility. Please observe the approved posted rules and playing times. Unlike some facilities, you can't dominate a court if players are waiting to play. If you haven't attempted pickleball, you are missing out on a fun sport.

For more information, please email us at canonsburg.pickleball@gmail.com.

Concerts in the park

Due to COVID-19, we had to scale back our typical summer concert season to three concerts this year. Unfortunately, one of the groups had to cancel before the show, which left us with East End Trouble in August and the Tom Terling Band in September. We are so grateful to these groups for participating this year. They both did a fantastic job. Both concerts were well attended, with concertgoers arriving in masks and sitting in groups as requested. Thank you to them as well for making an effort to attend these concerts. We couldn't have done this without our generous sponsors: Slovenian Savings and Loan, Sarris Candies, Washington Financial, Country Paws Grooming, and Robert Simonin Agency. We usually have about 15 to 20 sponsors, but certainly, understand this was a challenging year for everyone and appreciate their past support.

We are looking forward to Concert Season 2021 with a lineup of musical entertainment and, hopefully, our first movie in the park, which is so popular at other community parks. Check with Facebook or our new website (under construction) in the spring for a list of upcoming events.

Crosby House

Unfortunately, there was a break-in at the Crosby House this fall, and while there was little damage, it was a sad issue to deal with in our park. We want to give Public Works a big shout out for repairing all that was vandalized. Please be vigilant and keep your eyes and ears open, especially during the down time season of winter. This historic structure is being considered for a more active partition in the park. Please feel free to let us know on Facebook what you would like to see here. 

Park trees

Unfortunately, with the age of our park comes the maintenance of removing trees and stumps. This is a project for us every year and can be quite costly, depending on the number and age of the trees that need attention. If you have any interest or ability to work on the addition of trees to our park, please let us know.

In the middle of October, the FITZ Group helped us cut dead trees down, reshape and clean up the old sycamore tree, and clear back the brush by the ball fields.

Waterfall

There is a natural spring waterfall located in the middle of the park below the pickleball courts. The site had been vandalized and hence abandoned since its first implementation approximately 20 years ago. The general concept of architecture is being designed, and bids are being gathered to recreate this remarkable natural water feature. It was initially named Louga Falls, as Lou Gadani was instrumental in its first creation. The new renovation of this area will be constructed with boulders and landscaped with flowers when complete. It will not be too deep for safety reasons but it will be a beautiful enhancement to our park. If you would like to help with this project, please contact Lou at 724-724-7968.

We are always looking for volunteers on the Park Board and Friends of the Park. Please let us know If you would be interested in volunteering.

For more information on any of the above, please contact Terri J Startare at startare1@verizon.net or 724-746-7333.

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