AP NEWS

Rockwood residents break ground on community park

May 12, 2019

Rockwood residents came together Saturday to lay the foundation of a community park to honor its veterans.

State and local officials broke ground for the Rockwood Veteran’s Memorial and Community Park, which will be located along Main Street across from Stoner Furniture. The site was originally the Merchants Hotel and Buckman House.

Daniel Brant, president of the park committee, said the idea for a park started in 2015, when he was in town to celebrate Memorial Day.

“I said ‘Wouldn’t it be nice, we could tear that hotel down and put a nice park in there,’” he said. “Larry Maizer and I got together and started talking about it.”

Volunteers said the park is a place to honor veterans of the Rockwood community, and serve as a place for local residents to enjoy.

Jill Luster, a member of the park publicity committee, said 15 committee members from the area are trying to revitalize Rockwood, and “put some life into a small town.”

“Small towns everywhere are struggling, and we’re trying to improve Rockwood,” she said.

The project is broken into three phases, with the first being excavation to level out the area for the park.

“We’re trying to make it low maintenance, so it stays looking as nice as possible,” Luster said.

Later phases will include building a support wall and gazebo, which include lights around the park that will be lit from dusk to dawn.

Residents from around the area have been collecting donations for the park, with the total at the time of the ground breaking at around $50,000. Residents are looking for $250,000.

“We’re piecemealing this thing together, cause obviously we don’t have enough money so we are doing what we can afford to do at a time,” Brant said.

Community groups like the Rockwood American Legion and the Rockwood Borough Council have been helping with the construction of this project. Council president Amy Jo Stout said the park will be a place to honor those who lived in and made the borough their home.

“But of upmost importance is our desire to see this park as a place where we can honor those who serve and are currently serving in all branches of military, and pay tribute to those who gave their lives in service to this nation and this town,” she said.

Robert Trent, a Carlisle resident who was visiting family in the area, said he hopes to come back soon to see the park when it’s completed. Trent’s in-laws served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he hopes to bring his children to this park and share their story.

“It’s great to see their memories are not just remembered by the works of some good people in this town,” he said.

Community members currently have a “Buy a Brick” program to gain donations, allowing residents to memorialize a loved one or leave an inspirational message. Luster said organizers are also still looking for donations and volunteers.

“We just want to have everyone come together and feel like everyone is a part of this project,” she said. “We don’t want anyone to feel excluded, like ‘well they didn’t want to ask me to come.’ We’re asking everyone to be a part of it.”

Committee members said what everything is finished, the new park will be something that everyone can use.

“In the future we really would like to plan events, speakers and different things,” Luster said. “For the youth we’d like to have them have a place to do things.”

For more information about the “Buy a Brick” fundraiser, go to http://give.classy.org/DonateToRockwoodPark.