Bellwood-Antis Park Authority gearing up for the busy season

As the days get warmer and the laziness seeps from the bones, more and more people are getting off the couch and heading to the Bellwood-Antis Park.
From basketball to roller hockey, picnicking to relaxing in the sun, there’s something there for everyone. But visitors to the park this year are going to see some changes. Changes that B-A Park Authority Chairman Ray Amato said are for the better.
“We’re working like crazy and there’s a lot of things getting done,” said Amato, who also holds the vice-chair position on the Antis Township Board of Supervisors. “This whole place is a tribute to the people of Bellwood-Antis. They deserve this.”
According to Amato, lots of changes are taking place. Perhaps the most exciting is the new playground equipment that has already arrived and will be assembled in time for the Community Build project scheduled for May 8, 9 and 10.
Ordered from Cal Cooper and Miracle Recreation Equipment Co., the playground equipment is a single unit that contains multiple sliding boards, climbing apparatus, chinning bars and other surprises. The equipment, which will cover a 5,500-square-foot area, will rest on hardwood chips that are tested and proven to lessen the risk of injury in the case of a fall.
Also resting near the new playground equipment will be a new six-seat swing set Amato said was donated by the Bellwood-Antis Lions’ Club.
“Next weekend, we’re hoping everyone in the community is out helping us to get this thing together,” said Amato. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work, but we have a lot of the basic stuff done.”
Yesterday, work crews from both Bellwood Borough and Antis Township spent the better part of the day leveling the site and cementing stabilizing posts in the ground. They also began some assembly in hopes of placing some larger platforms at the site today.
The Community Build Project was decided upon after supervisors learned they could save a nice pile of money while bringing the community together for some honest work. Those wishing to participate in the community project are asked to contact either the Bellwood Borough offices at 742-8591 or the Antis Township offices at 742-9015 and leave your name, phone number and the day or days you are available for work.
“We’re hoping we have 40 or 50 people out there helping,” said Amato.
Work on May 8 and 9 will begin at 6 p.m. and work on Saturday, May 10, will begin at 8 a.m. Those interested are asked to bring, if available, a 3/8-inch ratchet and 9/16-inch socket. The authority said workers should also have gloves, boots or heavy shoes, warm clothing and rainwear.
Yesterday, the older playground equipment was removed from the site where the new equipment will be placed, and re-established yards away – adjacent to the Bellwood-Antis Community Pool. Also, crews combined two, 50-foot pavilions into a single, long pavilion.
The community pool is also seeing changes. According to Tyrone YMCA Executive Director Amy Hampton, a three-person crew – which includes Hampton, Nate Verilla and Harry Wertz – will be working feverishly through May 25 to get the facility ready. Plans include patching three seams inside the pool and painting the entire area, including the pool itself, the metal sheets that hide the piping work and the buildings that surround the pool area.
“It’s really going to look crystal clear after the paint is on and the water is in,” said Hampton.
At the Little League field, over-heated fans will find the new shaded comfort and picnic tables near the concession stand. Visiting players won’t gripe and groan over a “home team” batting cage any longer. This year, the visitors have their own cage to practice hitting the hardball in.
Speaking of batting cages, the park authority has decided to extend the current cages that lie adjacent to the roller hockey rink. Crews plan to level an area off adjacent to the rink and extend the cage to allow for pitchers to have a safe area to throw.
The hockey rink itself will also see improvements. Amato said plans call for a painting of the surface of the court, as well as line painting. He said the basketball court will be lined and the current equipment will be refurbished.
Amato said seven individuals have come forward to sponsor commemorative benches, which will be strategically located throughout the park. However, more are needed to fill the park.
Those interested in sponsoring a 6-foot bench in memory of a loved one, or to promote the name of an organization or business, contact 742-7361.
The cost of each bench will be $575. They will be 100-percent recycled plastic that won’t rot, splinter or crack, never need painting, and will be cemented down. Twenty letters are included per board and there are two boards. Additional letters will be $3 each. The boards will be cedar with green frames.
“We’re all looking forward to a fun and exciting summer and all that’s offered right here at the park,” said Amato. “It’s a great place to bring your family for a day to just relax.”
For more information about the park and what it has to offer, contact either Antis Township or Bellwood Borough offices.
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