By Matt Schickling
Wire Staff Writer
Lower Moreland’s Valley Center Park is becoming a busy place for recreation.
While the 90,000-square-foot, multi-sport turf field has already seen quite a lot of action from Lower Moreland High School athletes, Huntingdon Valley Athletic Association and various other clubs and leagues, the new playground has been relatively untouched.
That’s because it was completed just last week, but since its opening, families are slowly starting to trickle in.
Ruth Oslick and her children, Rebecca, 5, and Shane, 1, were some of the first to enjoy the playground. After seeing a Facebook post on the Lower Moreland Township page, they headed right over.
“We live five minutes away, so I figured let’s drive by and check it out,” Oslick said. “There’s not too many playgrounds close by and it’s great for the kids.”
The playground is comprised of three areas. There’s a jungle gym play area designated for children 2 to 5 years old, another for kids 5 to 12 and a swing set in the middle designed to accommodate children of all ages.
The play area designated for younger children includes two slides, a bridge, a ladder and some stairs. The other is more advanced, including two larger slides, monkey bars, a rock wall, tunnel and various other features.
“Everything in this park is ADA accessible,” said Loreen Guertin, assistant township manager at Lower Moreland.
This means that the park, including the entrances, paths, field and playground, are compliant with regulations set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, there are paved paths around the field and throughout the park. All entrances are also wheelchair-accessible.
The playground equipment was designed by George Eli Associates Inc. of Carlisle and manufactured by Playworld Systems of Lewisburg.
But the playground is just one example of many improvements underway at Valley Center Park.
A “pretty aggressive timeline” for development has been put in place after Lower Moreland received a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Guertin said.
The grant was for $149,000, which the township matched via its capital improvement fund. The playground cost $88,926, and $17,187 was invested into landscaping around the park. There is also $40,960 set aside to construct a pavilion on the corner of the turf field to provide more seating for spectators.
“We’ve noticed a lot of kids sitting on the curb. They don’t really have anywhere to sit besides the bleachers,” Guertin said. “We thought it’d be nice to have a pavilion for shade, rain and to eat.”
The pavilion is expected to be completed by the end of November.
Another incoming improvement for the 31-acre park and Fairway Farm open space is a nature trail through the woodlands downhill from the field. The trail is projected to be about 1.5 miles, with boardwalks built over the wetlands, and educational signage. Lower Moreland administrators are also considering putting a bird blind in along the nature trail for bird and other wildlife viewing.
Construction on the nature trail is expected to begin in the spring and completed by the beginning of summer.
“This opportunity presented itself,” Guertin said. “In two years, we were able to build a field and this huge park.”
Valley Center Park is located at 445 Red Lion Road in Lower Moreland. For more information, visit www.lowermoreland.org.