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Centre Region Parks and Recreation Staff Sprucing Up Parks for Busy Season

by and on April 29, 2017 7:00 AM

Grass needs mowing. Hedges need trimming. Parking lot curbs need painting. Flowers need planting. 

The “to do” list is a mile long for the men and women of the Centre Region Parks and Recreation authority as spring time means park time in the Centre Region. With about 1,020 acres to tend to in 56 different locations, upkeep and maintenance is an all-day, every-day thing for a department that swells from about 20 in the heart of winter, to more than 200 during the sweltering days of summer.

“Yeah, we’ve been busy alright,” said CRPR seasonal worker Hank Cramer from the cab of his mower as he cut the grass of the soccer fields at Orchard Park. “It’s always the busiest time of the year. We have to get all the parks in order for the public, and at the same time, we have to battle with Mother Nature to get all the work in while working around her schedule. It’s definitely a tough balancing act, but we get it done every year.”

From playground equipment and walking trails to basketball courts, tennis courts and waterfront views, CRPR parks have something to offer to everybody, said Beth Lee, CRPR recreation supervisor. She said the spring rush to get everything prepared has become routine for many of the longtime workers CRPR has returning year after year.

“We do have a wonderful group of people who take pride in keeping these parks looking great,” said Lee. “We always receive comments about how good the parks look and how well maintained they are. That says a lot about the people taking care of them. They take care of them like they are their own.”

She said maintenance on the parks occurs year-round; however, the bulk of the work is the preparation for the spring and summer months. She also said maintenance crews have a pretty good handle on the annual maintenance that is typical. Other teams inspect the different areas of each park to find any issues that need to be addressed.

“Our main concern is for the safety of the visiting public,” said Lee. “We want to take care of any problems or issues that could hurt somebody first. Thankfully, there aren’t too many of those situations that come up, but when they do, they need to be addressed immediately.”

As the season rolls into summer, Lee said the expanded crew will continue to mow grass and handle landscaping duties on a regular basis, and crews will be constantly monitoring the parks for any issues of safety that might arise.

“Getting them all ready is one thing,” said Lee. “Keeping them beautiful and enjoyable for people and families is the challenge we have after people start visiting them regularly. I think we do a pretty good job of that.”

Lee said several youth groups and sports teams regularly use the fields and they respect the rules outlined by CRPR. She said if others visiting the parks would also pay attention to the park rules, the outdoor recreation areas can be enjoyed by many for years to come.

“Just pay attention to the signs at the park and listen to what they say,” said Lee. “It doesn’t take a lot to keep our green spaces looking beautiful. With a little help from those who visit, our parks can be fresh and green and beautiful every day.”

In addition to maintaining 56 parks in the Centre Region, CRPR also maintains Park Forest Pool and William Welch Memorial Pool, as well as several summer camp programs and other activities.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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