By: Rebecca Zemencik The Citizen-Standard Staff – 8/13/09
MILLERSBURG – In order to better serve the Greater Millersburg Community, the Millersburg School District, Upper Paxton Township, and Millersburg Borough, are investigating the creation of a joint parks and recreation board.
The three groups are not alone in the investigation, which falls under the Peer to Peer Program. The program, through PA DCNR, allows communities to evaluate how a joint parks group would best be structured to benefit the public.
Joining them in their study will be: Millersburg Planning Commission; Millersburg Community Pool; Little League Baseball; Teener Baseball; Millersburg Ferry Boat Association; Millersburg Bicentennial Legacy Committee, and Millersburg Area Working Together. But, most importantly, the committee also wants the public’s input.
Questionnaires are available on-line at www.millersburgpa.org/Home/joint-parks-and-recreation-study. Anyone that resides in the 17061 zip code is encouraged to respond. Persons who don’t have internet access are encouraged to visit the Johnson Memorial Library which has public internet access.
The idea of the joint parks and recreation board came out of the development of Millersburg’s Master Park Plan.
In this plan, Millersburg Borough Parks and Recreation Committee performed a comprehensive study of the area’s parks and recreation facilities in order to gauge what the area was lacking.
“Realizing that the Millersburg area has a lot of recreation possibilities that extend throughout the Borough and Upper Paxton Twp., we decided to investigate the creation of a joint group to help envision, plan, develop, and maintain the outdoor treasures this area has to offer,” said Chris Dietz, Millersburg Borough Parks and Recreation Committee
The Millersburg Area School District will play a major role in the study since the district encompasses both the borough and the township and the school district offers much community recreation in the form of facilities and sports recreation programming.
“It really is a natural fit for the three groups to work together to enrich the existing and future community parks and recreation frame work,” said Dietz. “Another source of support for the study is the cooperation that brought the area together for Millersburg’s Bicentennial in 2007. The celebration was a huge community-wide effort and the events that were held were a testimonial to what can happen when everyone joins together for a common goal.
The Bicentennial Legacy Committee is in strong support of the joint parks and recreation study as a means to better the quality of living in the area. They have set aside funding to help the fledgling group once it is formed. The idea is that through matching grants, the contributions raised during the 2007 celebration, will be multiplied many times over
to effect a greater good and to foster a lasting cooperative effort within the community.
The group meets monthly to discuss possibilities and ideas and when all the input is gathered a public meeting will be held to discuss the group’s findings.
We are hoping to have the study complete by next fall,” said Dietz. “At that point we should be ready to officially set up the joint group complete with by-laws, board members, and municipal resolutions, etc.” Dietz said a possible next step in the process would be to hire a full-time staff person through another DCNR program called a Circuit Rider. The program would fully fund the staff person for the first year and then over the next three
years would step down incrementally as revenue from the new recreation programs step up.
Residents are encouraged to participate in the study by sharing ideas about the area’s park system and the recreation that is currently available or not available. For this process, recreation includes everything from quilting and star gazing, to kayaking and bicycling. Persons may mail their completed questionnaire or comments to email@example.com or deliver it to the Millersburg Borough Municipal Building at 101 West Street, by Monday, Aug.17.