MIDDLE SMITHFIELD TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- Crews are starting to clear the way for a new community center in Monroe County.
Middle Smithfield Township Community Center and Library of the Smithfields will be built in Echo Lake Park near Marshalls Creek.
If you drive by Echo Lake Park near Marshalls Creek, you might notice a majority of the trees in the park have been cut down.
Maria Biez from Middle Smithfield Township says she was surprised to see the space nearly empty.
"I felt kind of bad. I thought, 'OK, they are knocking down trees. What is going on?' Others were like, 'What is going on?'" Biez said.
Officials in Middle Smithfield Township are starting to clear the way for the new community center and library. The township received a $250,000 grant from state gambling money to help with the project.
"It's a 16-acre park. Less than 10 percent of it has been disturbed to put this cultural center in which will also house the Library of the Smithfields because they are losing their lease. We will also have an emergency shelter in the basement, which is something we can use in this area," said township supervisor Annette Atkinson.
People who live in the township tell Newswatch 16 they are happy to see that this space is going to be used for something the whole family can enjoy.
The center will also be home to small museums and display space for the Pocono Arts Council and more.
More details on the project will be released during a "Preview of 2019" meeting scheduled for Thursday at 7 p.m. at the township building.
Officials hope to have the center open by next spring.