FOUR AREA ORGANIZATIONS — Next Step Therapy Inc., Training Toward Self Reliance (TTSR), United Community Independence Programs (UCIP) and Roads to Recovery — are spearheading fundraising efforts to provide a local match for two grants solicited by Clarion County to help cover the cost of installing new, all-inclusive playground equipment at the Clarion County Park. Plans for the 80-foot-by-120-foot area, suitable for children of all ages and abilities, include a rubber, fall-safe surface, pavilion, ADA playground equipment and more.

CLARION – Four area organizations are offering support for newly proposed, all-inclusive playground equipment at the Clarion County Park in Paint Township.

According to Clarion County officials last week, Next Step Therapy Inc., Training Toward Self Reliance (TTSR), United Community Independence Programs (UCIP) and Roads to Recovery are spearheading fundraising efforts to provide a local match for two grants solicited by the county to help cover the cost of the project. The application for the first grant in the amount of $175,000 from state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) was approved by the Clarion County Board of Commissioners at its April 9 meeting, while another application for a Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Greenway Trails and Recreation Program grant in the amount of $229,556 was approved at the commissioners’ April 23 meeting.

The DCNR grant requires a 50 percent local match, and the DCED grant needs a 15 percent match, county grant coordinator Mindy Frampton explained during last week’s meeting. The DCED grant can be used as the match for the DCNR grant.

“The total cost [of the project] is $390,000,” Frampton said, noting that the project includes removing the existing playground and replacing it with ADA compliant playground equipment that can be used by children of all ages and abilities.

Collaboratively designed by the county and the local service organizations, plans for the new ADA playground show an approved fall-safe rubber surface covering the entire 80-foot-by-120-foot area with a large pavilion in the center.

“The pavilion will be a nice area for parents to sit and be able to watch their children all around,” Frampton said.

With the current play equipment starting to deteriorate, Clarion County Commissioner Ted Tharan stressed the need for an all-inclusive playground at the county park, adding that plans for the new playground also include areas for sensory items such as musical instruments and more for children to enjoy. Located across the street from the soccer field, Tharan said, the playground will also be in close proximity to the new ADA restrooms currently under construction, as well as ADA parking.

“It’s centrally located to everything,” Tharan said.

When it comes to the project timeline, Frampton said that the county will not know if it received any of the grant funding until October, so work would most likely begin next spring.

“There’s a lot of prep work that needs to be done in order to install the rubber flooring,” she said, adding that additional equipment could be added to the playground if funding permits. “It would only be a matter of weeks once the weather breaks.”

Other Business

• The commissioners approved a proclamation recognizing the achievement of Reed Bell for earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

• GIS fees were waived for the North Country Trail Association to obtain trail data from an additional 3,912 parcels.

As previously reported, data will be used as part of a statewide project to assess the options for relocating trails off public roadways.

• The following individuals were hired for part-time maintenance work at the Clarion County Park: William Baughman, $9.83 per hour; David Blum, $9.73 per hour; David Lannigan, $9.97 per hour; Doug Marshall, $9.73 per hour; Zachary Stiglitz, $9.97 per hour; Larry Switzer, $9.43 per hour; and Tim Cotherman, $9.43 per hour.

• An application submitted by the Walter W. Craig Post 354 American Legion for a tax exemption in New Bethlehem was approved.

• Also approved were sub-recipient agreements with Foxburg Borough to use 2016 CDBG money for demolition and 2017 CDBG money for road repair, both along North Palmer Avenue.

• Multiple lease contracts were renewed at the county’s Human Services Building, effective July 1 through June 30, 2020.

• Thomas Bish, Kaitlin Nichols and Brooke Carlson were hired as part-time corrections officers at the jail at a salary of $10 per hour effective April 24.

• Citing a discrepancy in the deed, the commissioners approved a draft boundary line agreement between the county, and Amwood LLP, Winscott Inc. and Patricia Hill Associates to remove an encroachment onto county property at the site of the Clarion County Jail. The document also confirms that the jail property will always be bordered by Amsler Avenue at the south. In a separate motion immediately following, the commissioners authorized Tharan as chairman of the board to execute and legally bind Clarion County to the final form of the agreement.

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