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Chester County Press

Penn Township supervisors discuss parks, including a grant for an environmental education center

06/01/2021 12:25PM ● By Steven Hoffman
Penn Township has been awarded a $7,500 grant from the E. Kneal Dockstader Foundation to be used toward work on an environmental education center at the township’s new sports park Specifically, the funds will go toward the creation of a story walk, in partnership with the Avon Grove Library. 
Last year, the township received $10,000 from the Foundation.
The award was discussed during the Board of Supervisors meeting on May 19, along with several other agenda items related to the sports park.
“It really is taking off and coming along nicely,” said Karen Versuk, the township’s director of operations. 
Bridges have been installed in the outdoor classroom area. Two boy scouts will be starting projects on that area and on benches, and two more scouts are planning projects as well. Supervisor Victor Mantegna stressed that adult oversight is required for these projects.
“Anything that happens at the active park with Scouts has to be overseen by the township,” Mantegna said. 
The board appointed Steve Ramsay and Ralph Churchill to serve on the Active Recreation Committee. 
At the township’s passive park beside the township building, the renovations to the rose gardens are underway. The area is designed to be a tribute to the military services. At the moment, there are five pathways but the merchant marines are not represented. The supervisors are considering additional walkways as part of a redesign
The entrances to the restrooms at the park are also in need of work because they are in disrepair and may not be ADA-compliant.  Mantegna wants to see an engineer’s design for the new work that is needed. 
Also at the park, improvement plans call for replacing the flood lights at the flag pole with LED lighting. 
The sign at the entrance to the township building parking lot is also in need of repair, with several artificial stones coming off the framework around the sign. Those stones that are removed will be saved in case they should be needed for repair to the matching stone façade of the building. Estimates will be sought for repair of the actual sign.
The board approved a proposal from Steven Esh and Sons in the amount of $2,331 for repairs to the Red Rose Inn. The corner of the building was struck by a truck, taking out the corner porch post as well as damaging brickwork.  The work is expected to be covered by insurance.
Repairs are expected soon and should not impact the Red Rose Rent Day celebration, set for Oct. 25 and 26. The actual presentation of the rose rent will take place on Sat. Oct. 25 at 11 a.m. The Colonial-era tradition was resurrected by Conard Pyle Co in 1937 and was held through 1985. This event, originally planned for 2020, will feature the township supervisors presenting the rose rent to a descendent of William Penn. The Inn will be open both days that weekend for the public to go through the building and view the local history displays. More information will be available as details are finalized. 
“I think well have a good event,” Scott Steele from the township historical committee said. 
West Grove Fire Company chief Justin Gattorno and president Neil Vaughn were on hand to give a report of the organization’s recent activities in the township. 
“We’re off to a pretty busy start this year. We’ve had 155 EMS calls already this month,” Gattorno said. 
He also noted that the portion of patient transports to Chester County Hospital, usually at patient request, has roughly tripled. The longer travel time puts a greater burden on the company.
Gattorno presented the supervisors with a photo of West Grove Fire Company vehicles and personnel. The photo was taken at the township sports park by a drone camera.
Another action by the board was the approval of the purchase of a new Dodge diesel truck with v plow to replace their 16-year-old Ford F350. The price is $56.422, with total cost after adding undercoating not to exceed $62,000.
Summer events in the township begin on June 12 with the showing of the movie “Dirty Dancing” at a drive-in style movie at the sports park.  On June 17, the first Kids Summer Fun Day of the year will be a treasure hunt from 10 a.m. to noon at the Penn Township Park.