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Making a Difference: Jennerstown residents work together to revitalize community park

JENNERSTOWN -- It started out as a typical Tuesday night in July last year for a group of families in Jennerstown, until ideas and suggestions were exchanged that led to plans on improving a playground and park.

The hope is that it becomes a places for kids to have fun and eventually bring back the fall festival that was once in the area.

For most, checking out the space on Saylor Street in Jennerstown with its small basketball court, pavilion and few pieces of playground equipment looks run-down and uninviting.

But for Jake Fleegle, of the Jennerstown Recreation Committee, and a few locals, they saw opportunity and community.

"We just wanted a good play place for the kids and a safe place for the kids to come," Fleegle said.

Now strong with 18 families, the Jennerstown Recreation Committee was formed last July.

"Actually a lot of people that got involved don't have the smaller children but there are a bunch that have the smaller children. But it has been a community effort," Fleegle said.

A community effort that surprisingly came quick. After figuring out what needed to be updated through a four phase plan, and it costing about $60,000, in just a few months they raised $45,000.

“We're so pleased people coming forward and helping us,” Fleegle said.

Much of the playground equipment that has been at the park for years is old and outdated. That is why it was so important to the committee to purchase new equipment right away.

"That was the first goal, was to get a good play unit for kids age 5 through 12,” Fleegle said.

The focus was then on updating the basketball court, followed by improving the pavilions.

“It will expand 10 feet in length with two new basketball hoops,” Fleegle said of the basketball court. “The pavilions will actually get concrete pads underneath for future use.”

Meanwhile, Fleegle said thanks to the many donations, the committee will be able to install the newly purchased playground two months earlier than originally planned.

The committee is asking for volunteers to show up and help build that new playground set on April 22 at 8 a.m.

To donate, head to www.cfallegenies.org or mail to JRC, PO Box 302, Jennerstown, PA 15547

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