BLAKELY, Pa. -- The Blakely Borough Recreation Complex is home to playgrounds, baseball fields, tennis courts, walking paths, and so much more. From one end to other, it's more than a half a mile long.
Now, the park is getting new surveillance cameras, and that's just the beginning of the project that will improve the park's safety and appearance.
Not all change is always welcome, but the improvements that are coming to the Blakely Borough Recreation Complex certainly are.
"Absolutely, I know the lighting system had a problem. I think it was last year. I think they shut the park down at night because the lights were out. I understand they're putting cameras in? Oh, that's good," said Paula Bartkovsky of Peckville.
All of the existing lights in the park will be replaced with new LEDs. At the same time, 18 surveillance cameras will be installed.
"I think it's a great idea because people need places to go and they would like to be somewhere where they don't have to worry about their safety," Jacky Devroe of Carbondale said.
There wasn't an incident that happened at the park; this is just all part of a grant to make improvements for the safety and appearance of the park. The lights haven't been replaced since they were installed in the late 1980s.
"Really think it's well used. I think it's very safe. I walk here. I wouldn't say frequently, but sometimes I do, and I have absolutely no problem. Blakely police come down here on their golf cart and they patrol it," Bartkovsky said.
"If there is ever an event or something happens, they can just review the history of it. People lie, cameras don't," said Adam Zmuda of Protect One.
Blakely police will be able to monitor all 18 cameras from the borough building. They will even be able to control six of them by panning and zooming.
"Cops do not have to be on location at all times. With a park this size, they would have to have at least two or three patrolmen to cover it," Zmuda explained.
Also, part of the $240,000 state grant, old mulch will be replaced with grass. Stormwater management drains will be installed, and the walking paths will be widened, so bikes will soon be allowed -- something that has never happened here at the park in Blakely in the past.
"That would be really nice for the bicyclists to have somewhere safe to go because it's hard on the streets," Devroe said.
The entire park project in Blakely is expected to be completed by early fall. Park officials say they could also add more cameras after the initial 18 in the future.