New Kensington seeks input on proposed park projects

November 10, 2018

New Kensington officials are seeking input from residents about several proposed recreation projects in the city.

The plans being considered include a new playground and basketball court on what is now a parking lot next to Peoples Library at Eighth and Barnes streets; a new playground along Fourth Avenue; and potential upgrades to smaller, existing neighborhood parks.

“We want to make sure that, not only do we have our parks up-to-date and safe, we also want the parks to be somewhere where people really come to enjoy their day with their kids or seniors come and enjoy sitting in the park,” said Mayor Tom Guzzo.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a public meeting on the plans from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

The city received a $227,000 grant from the state’s Greenways, Trails & Recreation program to pay for the proposed park at Eighth and Barnes, which Councilman Dante Cicconi said could become a “jewel in the center of town.”

The new playground along Fourth Avenue would be behind New Kensington’s magisterial district courthouse, and geared for children up to age 12. The city would pay for that project, said Cicconi, who oversees parks and buildings as a council member.

Cicconi did not say when either park might be built.

Monday’s meeting also will include discussion about what can be done to fix up existing neighborhood parks that are in dire need of repairs, such as Parnassus Park, Fairmont Park and Summit Street Park, Cicconi said.

“We’ve learned more and more how important neighborhood parks are. I think that’s going to be a big part of the meeting,” Guzzo said.

Cicconi said something needs to be done, and he thinks improvements could potentially increase real estate values in neighborhoods.

“All the equipment in town is terrible -- it needs to come out,” Cicconi said. “I can’t really say that without having a plan to move ahead and replace it. I want people to know that this is being worked on.”

Cicconi said he has been in talks with Westmoreland Community Action about possible funding, and he hopes other donors will step forward to help.

Officials from Tennessee-based Play & Park Structures will be at the meeting to present designs, answer questions and gather input.

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