LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. -- Several parks around Luzerne County will soon be getting upgrades thanks to a state grant, and families who frequent those playgrounds are looking forward to the work to begin.
Meredith Rynkiewicz lives only two houses down from the Bainbridge Campbell Park in West Pittston.
"We are thrilled, we are absolutely excited," she said.
Bainbridge Campbell Park is one of the several in Luzerne County that will receive a grant from Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for park improvements. The 5th Street Playground in West Hazleton is also on the list.
"Mainly for safety, this playground here is outdated. The equipment here is over 30 years old, and the borough wanted to upgrade it," said West Hazleton Borough Engineer Dominic Yannuzzi.
All of the parks on the list include similar improvements, like new equipment and landscaping, and at Bainbridge Campbell park, lighting and security cameras, too.
"A little bit concerned about some of the activity I've seen at the park during the later hours of the evening. The fact that there's going to be cameras and lighting makes us feel all the more safe," Rynkiewicz said.
Also included in the grant for the park projects, ADA approved ramps will be installed.
"I think that's fantastic for our friends in wheelchairs and friends with mobility issues. I think that's absolutely key and long overdue," Rynkiewicz said.
Borough officials in West Pittston and in West Hazleton agree the improvements will bring more families to the playgrounds.
"I think they'll come out and enjoy it. We wanted them to have a safe place to enjoy with their children," said West Hazleton Mayor John Chura.
In return, parents say they will take good care of their new and improved playground.
"Us local parents are going to do our part to keep it clean and beautiful, we're very excited," Rynkiewicz said.
State legislators in Luzerne County announced the grants last week in two press releases.
State Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Luzerne, said the county will benefit from $237,600 in state grants approved for improving parks and community space for residents and visitors to enjoy.
The three grants and their associated projects are:
- White Haven: $182,600 for the borough’s Rail Yard Park development project. Work will include the construction of plaza areas, pedestrian walkways with ADA access, stormwater management measures, fencing, lighting and utilities, and other related improvements.
- West Hazleton: $30,000 for the borough’s 5th Street Playground development project. Plans include installing new play equipment with required safety surfacing, ADA access, landscaping, and related improvements.
- Wright Township: $25,000 for its Municipal Park development. Work includes renovation of a pavilion, basketball and tennis courts, new play equipment with safety surfacing, ADA access, and other related improvements.
Four Luzerne County municipal recreational facilities and one in Wyoming County will undergo rehabilitation and upgrades thanks to state grants awarded by DCNR, Sen. Lisa Baker, R-20th, and Rep. Aaron Kaufer, R-120th, announced Thursday.
In Kingston Township, $268,500 will be used toward rehabilitation and further development of Center Street Park. Work includes construction of a pavilion/comfort station and stormwater management measures; installation of utilities; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements.
In Penn Lake Park Borough, $23,200 is slated for Penn Lake Playground. Work involves construction of a parking area and pedestrian walkway; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements.
In Wright Township, $25,000 has been awarded to help rehabilitate and further develop the Wright Township Municipal Park. The renovation of a pavilion, basketball and tennis courts, installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements will be among the improvements.
In addition, Kaufer announced that Bainbridge Campbell Park, in West Pittston Borough, is getting $40,000 for the renovation of the playground; construction of stormwater management measures; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing, lighting and security cameras; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements.
Sen. Baker and Rep. Karen Boback, R-117th, also announced that $40,000 has been awarded to Factoryville Borough to further develop Christy Mathewson Park, in the Wyoming County borough. Work includes the renovation of a basketball court; construction of a pickleball court; installation of play equipment with required safety surfacing; ADA access, landscaping, and other related site improvements.