The South Abington Park is set to close for most of the summer of 2013 because of two sewer projects, but township supervisors plan to seize the opportunity and revamp the park.
South Abington supervisors said work on the sewage system will include a township project to replace two pump stations with a more cost-effective gravity line. The Abington Wastewater Authority will also be working in the area during the same period.
The park will serve as a staging area for the projects, which will take place during most of June, July and August. The supervisors said that with all of the activity and heavy equipment involved with the sewer upgrades, the park will be unsafe for use.
The work will begin behind South Abington Elementary School and continue through the park, progressing beyond the park as far as the intersection of Venard and Willow Brook roads. The Abington Heights School district requested the work be done when class is not in session, leaving the township with no choice but to schedule the work for summer.
Supervisor Mark Dougherty said the park‚??s closing presented an opportunity for the township to make improvements, including repaving the basketball courts and replacing old playground equipment.
‚??There are a lot of things we could do with that three months if it was closed that we wouldn‚??t be able to do normally because of the usage,‚?Ě Dougherty said. ‚??We could put the park ahead 10 years. We have the money to do it, so we should just do it.‚?Ě
The project will be paid for out of a special fund set aside for parks and recreation. The borough levies a tax on residents each year for this fund. The supervisors also discussed the possibility of partially underwriting the project with a grant from the state‚??s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
The supervisors put in a request to the township‚??s Parks and Recreation committee to begin planning for the park‚??s face-lift.
In other business, the supervisors discussed the possibility of purchasing a power generator for the township building. The building was without power for nearly 24 hours, the longest outage in its history, during Hurricane Sandy.
‚??The police had a very difficult time doing their function, and it just highlighted our need for a generator,‚?Ě Supervisor Giles Stanton said. ‚??We‚??re looking into the engineering and purchase of a generator.‚?Ě
The supervisors are still exploring the pros and cons of various types of generators, taking into consideration factors such as power, cost, fuel type and portability.