Changes may be coming to Playground Association

LEWISTOWN – Proposed changes to the Mifflin County Playground Association was a topic of conversation during a Tuesday evening meeting of the Mifflin County Parks and Recreational Council.

Bill Gomes, director of Mifflin County Planning and Development, gave an overview of the playground report, which he said is only a draft.

“Nothing is set in stone yet on anything involving the playground,” Gomes said. “The only thing we know for certain is that a sustainabiltiy plan needs to be put into effect.”

Talks around the playground association’s sustainability have been ongoing since January, when it was discovered the woman who has been running it decided to retire. Gomes said he has been working with Marie Mulvihill, director of the United Way of Mifflin-Juniata, to see what the next step could be.

The current association works closely with the United Way to fund the parks in nine municipalities in Mifflin County. Mulvihill and Gomes both said several of those nine municipalities have expressed concern with the organizational structure of the current association, which is some of the focus in the new drafts.

“Organization is a key thing in any type of program,” Gomes said. “Organization helps with volunteers and kids, without that the program may not reach its full potential.”

Both Gomes and Mulvihill stressed that this is still in the planning stages, with a independent third party taking a look at the draft plant to help make recommendations.

“We have already heard some basic suggestions from this independent third party,” Gomes said. “They have suggested things like more surveys and meetings with parents in the communities to get their thoughts.”

Gomes also said that if this were to take place the municipalities do not have to join. He said another big problem is funding and that whether that municipality can keep funding the program.

“We are going to straighten things out, there are some problems that need to be worked out and there are plans in the works to help with that,” Gomes said.

Mulvihill added that the board is not a governing body, meaning anything that the board votes on would need to be decided at the municipality level.

Gomes and Mulvihill also said that the current plan is to implement this in 2015, for this year, everything is staying the same.

Also discussed at the meeting:

The proposed dog park at Kish Park is moving forward, a plan presentation will occur at the next Derry Township Supervisors meeting, which is scheduled for Monday.

Plans for the boat launch are moving slowly, and a preliminary archeological study may need to be conducted at the proposed site.

The next meeting of the Mifflin County Parks and Recreation Board will be at 6 p.m on May 27 at the Regional Business Center in Lewistown.