Fall is in the air! While late in turning this year, all the beautiful foliage in the park has begun the dance of color. Because of the mild temperatures this season, many are enjoying the outdoor community longer. If you walk through the park, you will see many enjoying the pathways; those will be redone next year. Pickleball enthusiasts are still active on the courts, the new VFW Pavilion and brand new comfort station are in constant use, and our CTP Annual Bonfire was back on track for 2021! Adults, children and pets have been seen in all areas. Check out the new meditation area near the water fountain. Being outside has people reading, relaxing, exercising and playing throughout, and we are so glad to have and maintain such a beautiful area in CTP!

Making an impact

The Friends of the Park received a generous donation from brothers Bob and Bill Schmidt. They shared and reflected on how their experience growing up in Canonsburg and utilizing the CTP every day as youth positively impacted their lives. They would like to see the park focus and implement more youth activities. The Schmidts excelled in sports while attending Canon-McMillan, and their love of sports and athletics ignited their generosity. The brothers also helped with the pickleball courts, and Bill Schmidt is a former Olympian.

The pool house

This historic building’s renovations are going to begin. The wings on either side of the pool house have been removed, and the exterior has been repaired and painted. Discussion is ongoing with what to do from here about the replacement of the shade roofs. The bathhouse rooms have received new glass block windows and have been painted (by the C-M football team, who also helped us with our clean-up day this spring). The pump room will receive a new ceiling and support. The main wall in the front interior of the pool house will be massively overhauled and/or replaced. The new driveway at the pool is being finished as this newsletter is being written thanks to the borough and public works.

Pathways throughout the park have been reaching a level of disintegration for several years now, and the park board and council have approved the refinishing expense. They are accepting bids for this significant renovation/replacement. There will be a widening of the paths from three to four feet, and they will be mostly asphalt as they are now but wholly replaced. The path in front of the basketball court (down from the ball fields) will be reconfigured, possibly relocating the path behind the courts. Our pathways are over 2,000 feet and have some real issues to contend with regarding the lay of the land and water issues.

Free concerts and movie nights in the park

The Friends of the Park Events were held throughout the summer, but most were rained out and canceled or rescheduled. It was our inaugural season of Movie Night in Town Park this year. With complimentary water and snacks available, all showings were free to the public and started at sunset. Community members brought blankets, lawn chairs, coolers and dogs to watch blockbuster favorites under the stars.

Visit friendsofthepark1923.com next year for scheduling and other information!

We look forward to an exciting new lineup for 2022, with a revamped movie night experience. Check us out on Facebook or our website friendsofthepark1923.com for details coming after the first of the year.

Annual bonfire event

We cannot express enough our thanks and gratitude for the community and families and all that we do when we come together to make this park shine. The CTP Annual Bonfire was created for this very reason – to thank YOU! This year’s event was held on Oct. 16 and was bigger and better than ever! This year we had a DJ, Chilly C, a local Canonsburger, and Hog Fathers, also a local business that has partnered with us on a couple of events, always donating back or helping whenever called upon. Our fire department was there with the truck and all kinds of goodies and info for children and parents alike. There were over 100 people in attendance, ranging from the very young, to teenagers, to adults and even seniors. Some dressed in costume this year, and we may consider making that part of our festivities in the future. There was also talk of having the “CreepFest Fundraiser” again that used to be held in the park. Please feel free to comment on what you would like to see next year on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page.

New meditation area

Many residents and businesses joined us in leaving a lasting memory and, in the process, helped CTP add some finishing touches near the Velma Jeffreys playground and VFW pavilion. The paver campaign was a huge success and surpassed our expectations. Once the installation was complete, many residents reached out and wished they would have participated. For this reason, check our website for future opportunities to purchase benches and pavers. As new projects are completed, these small nuances tie all the sections together and make for a smooth flowing, enjoyable space that many are using daily.

The area has two benches to relax. One of the benches is in loving memory of Ken McWilliams from family and friends. Ken was responsible for the wooden picnic tables throughout the park and gazebo in the Velma Jeffreys playground. The other bench was donated by The Startare Family (The Park is in our Heart). The design and implementation of this project could not have been possible without the leadership and creativity of Doug McKenery, who made this project possible along with community donation support.

The pet pavers went around the newly installed fountain at the VFW Pavilion. The family/business pavers created a meditation area with landscaping and a Virginia sweetbay magnolia tree. Laurie Rigby donated the tree in loving memory of her husband and long-time park benefactor Jessey. Jess worked on the Friends of the Park in many capacities (and as its treasurer for many years), sat on the park board, and helped write numerous grants (the last one was for the VFW pavilion awarded by the LSA). He was a significant participant in the erection of both the basketball courts and the pickleball courts. He was always instrumental and willing to put his time, labor and skills into a project to better our park, and our dear friend is truly missed.

We kindly ask that patrons not park on the grass or the hillside, and please go slow and be cautious when entering and leaving the Velma Jeffreys area of the park. This is where our smallest residents hang out, and their safety is very important to us all.

Special thanks for the artistic rendering of the meditation area goes out to Jim Sulkowski.

This local artist (also a lifelong Canonsburger) generously created the vision, and we are looking to do more with this fine work.

Pickleball

“If you build it, they will come.” Residents of Canonsburg and surrounding communities are coming to CTP to play pickleball. Pickleball was created in the mid-1960s but is one of the fastest-growing sports in America. Although it took years to reach Canonsburg, young and old are becoming pickleball fanatics. Dinking, slamming and hitting a ball over a net is the new thing to do in the park. Once you play, you are definitely hooked. The courts will remain open until the end of November and reopen in April.

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 in working on adding trees to our park, please let us know.

Waterfall

There is a natural spring waterfall located in the middle of the park below the pickleball courts. The site has been cleaned up, and plans are developing to make this a beautiful water feature in our park.

Lots of other road work and drainage alterations have been made to the area. Since its first implementation approximately 20 years ago, groups have been trying to figure out the best way to make this a beautiful yet safe area for residents to enjoy. The general architectural concept is being designed, and bids are being gathered to recreate this remarkable natural water feature. The new renovation of this area will be constructed with boulders and landscaped with flowers when completed. If you would like to help with this project, please contact the borough for park board information or visit the Facebook page.

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.

Parks are good medicine. Stay safe – go outside and play!

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

Or visit friendsofthepark1923.com for more information.

Startare is president of Friends of the Park

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