Eleven months ago, Ford City Police Chief / Borough Manager Michael Greenlee unveiled a plan to Council that would upgrade their community parks for youth activities.
In order to fund the proposed changes, Greenlee applied for a grant with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
“Our first grant that we wrote was to improve Boulder Park by making a more of a ‘tot lot’. We wanted each area of that park to address a certain age group. So, we’re going to have something for kids 0-5. We already have a 5-12, and we are putting in a 12 and above for we’re going to do a “sport court”, which is a multi-court, kind of like deck hockey with basketball and other variations of netting games there in the park. It should be a very nice addition to Boulder Park.”
The total project amount is $77,500. The Borough will receive $70,000 from the DCNR grant. The grant required a local match of $7,500. Greenlee thanked the Snyder Charitable Foundation for their contribution that will cover the local match.
“I want this new enhancement for Ford City to be an all ages type of park where the whole family can come, and have a good time, and spend the whole day there.”
Greenlee said that Boulder Park was planned as the first area of improvement. In future years, Greenlee plans to apply for additional funding for other parks. At a March 2017 meeting, Greenlee called for a “total re-do of 7th Avenue (playground)”, but said it probably wouldn’t be funded until 2019.
“As I go through town, I see kids playing on some side lots or in front of the old high school. So I was trying to go with an open field concept where they can use it for various things, whether it is football or soccer, with a set of bleachers for team sports,” he said. “The idea was to have playgrounds that appeal to all ages so the whole family could come and have fun.”
Greenlee hopes to bid out Boulder Park as soon as possible.
“I would like to have the implementation sometime in April, May. I would like to have it in use by summer time.”
Greenlee stressed the importance of installing a multi-purpose court that will get maximum use by various sporting groups in the community. The court will also be lit for night-time activities.
Greenlee said this project is the continuation of his quest for revitalizing various areas of Ford City.
“There’s many improvement projects that I’d like to see at the parks and hopefully this is one of many.”
Last year, Greenlee was the chief architect of designing food vending events called First Fridays, making Ford City a food destination place that attracted people from as far away as Bethel Park and New Castle.
“There’s actually going to be even more (this year). We’re going to have our six First Fridays and we’re going to have six Dinner Trucks Wednesdays. So, those will fall probably mid-month, on a 2nd or 3rd Wednesday every month. There will be a limited number of trucks, maybe anywhere between 4 and 6. The Dinner Truck Wednesdays are going to move around town to showcase what’s in town. So, it will take people over to this area where we have the new burger restaurant, or maybe over on to 9th street where we have the flower shop and we have the sub shop. Or, move it down to the new hair care salon and try to use that as a way to showcase more of town. It will be announced every month where it’s going to be.”
Greenlee said the First Friday events would continue to be held on Ford Street again this year, except for September, when a Pediatric Cancer event is held in the Park.
Greenlee said this is just the beginning.
“I am working on several grants, but until it’s official, I really can’t make any announcements. But, look for some more grants here in the future that will include park improvement, trail improvement – anything to give families something to do here locally.”
Watch the uncut interview with Michael Greenlee here: