Banking on it

By on August 3, 2016

Volunteers ‘fix’ creek at Reamstown Park; DEP officials not pleased

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When is help not helpful?

When a group of concerned citizens, attempting to mitigate an unsafe creek bank erosion problem in Reamstown Park, used shovels and a backhoe at the site at just about the same time it was inspected as part of preliminary work to update the township’s MS4 Plan.

“The DEP representative, Felicia Lamphere, first talked to me about this,” said Tony Luongo, township zoning officer.

“She thought the park was a township park, and it’s not. Subsequently, a resident sent me photos of the work that was done. It appears someone or some group was trying to re-channel the creek.”

On Monday, July 25, a meeting was held with Lamphere; Sterling Smith, park maintenance volunteer; and Mike Brubaker, park board member, to understand what needed to be done to stabilize the situation and put the creek bed back to the original condition.

“The stream is a waterway of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” said Luongo. “There are fish, frogs, and other life in the stream. The creek has running water all the time; it never dries out.”

“I think some people were trying to help the erosion at the edges of the creek, but park officials were told by DEP to put it back to the original conditions,” said park board Vice President Mike Burkholder. “There was concern that the eroded, five-foot banks weren’t as safe as they could be and someone might fall in.”

Board member Jim Tressler stressed that there was never any malicious intent by anyone. An honest mistake was made, he said.

Unlike other community parks, Reamstown’s park uses no tax dollars. There is a small group of people who work to maintain this community gem, Tressler explained. He’d like to see more interest in helping to maintain the park and more volunteers come to meetings, which are held the second Tuesday of every month.

Reamstown Park is heavily used for community events, such as music festivals, National Night Out, Easter egg hunts, and a summer student lunch program. Residents and children enjoy the large playground, picnic tables, and baseball field.

Established by the Reamstown Fire Company, Reamstown Athletic Association and the East Cocalico Lions Club in 1946 to honor veterans of World War II, the park was expanded to include landscaping, play equipment, a bandshell, refreshment stands, and playing fields.

In 1999, two granite memorials were erected next to the 1947 memorial to honor veterans who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

One park board member, who did not wish to be quoted, said the “real story” to come out of this situation should be appreciation for this community park that doesn’t cost residents anything and motivation for more residents to become involved with the volunteer efforts of the park board.


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