Lower Merion crews clean up, renovate two township parks, third park to get new ball field

By Richard Ilgenfritz rilgenfritz@21st-centurymedia.com @rpilgenfritz on Twitter


Lower Merion officials this week highlighted recent work that was done to fix up sections of two parks in the township.


During her monthly report to the Board of Commissioners Wednesday evening, Donna Heller, director of Parks and Recreation for Lower Merion Township, first discussed recent improvements to Austin Memorial Park in Rosemont.

The park sits along Lancaster Avenue on the border with Radnor Township and is just over three acres. The area where the work was done fronts Lancaster Avenue and is about one acre. Heller said the final costs are not in yet but she estimated the costs were about $7,000. Township employees did the work.

 “I want to celebrate this result,” said Lower Merion Commissioner Phil Rosenzweig. “For a long time it was an embarrassing look into Lower Merion from Lancaster Avenue and it really was a constant source of mess and this result, which was not enormously expensive, was well thought out, creatively approached and worked for this small site. It has really transformed the view from Lancaster Avenue into this little piece of Lower Merion and its really lovely. Not only do we get compliments from the people who live in Austin Park Place but from residents from far and wide who drive by it and say, ‘wow, that was really like a big swamp and now it is just lovely.’”


Others on the board mentioned the design of the improvements.


Commissioner George Manos said he wanted to compliment the layout and said it was a really good design that was packed into a small space.


It is “exemplary,” Manos said, “… and could be a model as a way to approach a lot of landscape solutions here in the township.”


In one other action the board approved a license agreement to allow The Baldwin School to convert a small baseball field at Penn Wynne Park into a regulation softball field in exchange for using it for after school sports activities over the next 15 years. The plan was outlined and then approved during Wednesday night’s township Parks and Recreation Committee meeting. The final vote was made when it was added to the board’s consent calendar later that night.


According to township officials, in the fall of 2015 school officials from Baldwin approached the township looking for a space for a new softball field.

“This is a positive concept which came out of Baldwin approaching the township in need of a softball field for their interscholastic softball team,” Heller said. “After reviewing the options we began to focus on the Penn Wynne Park baseball field as a viable option.”

It would be used for the upcoming spring season that runs from March through June and the times it would be in use are Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 6 p.m.


“Penn Wynne Park is our only facility with no permits issued during the after school hours. All other fields have activities either from Lower Merion High School or other local private schools,” Heller said.

The field would still be available at all other times other than when it is not in use by Baldwin and it could also be used by Lower Merion Little League.



Lower Merion Commissioner Rick Churchill asked about how students would be getting to the field.

Marisa Porges, head of school at Baldwin, said most of the students would be driven to the field by a coach in a small van. Older students who drive could also get there by cars.


“The final benefit to the township is … we get this renovation at no cost which will benefit all park users,” Heller said.

Baldwin is expected to spend $64,000 on the renovation, according to township documents. The work is expected to be ready for this spring’s softball season.


Full story here.