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Dozens help build at Bellwood-Antis Community Park

Mother Nature couldn’t hold back the dozens of Northern Blair County residents who came to the Bellwood-Antis Community Park on Saturday to help install a piece of equipment that will keep children smiling for years to come.
“We got a pretty good turnout,” said Bellwood-Antis Park Authority president Ray Amato. “It’s good to see the communities can come together to work an important project like this. It’s something we’re both proud of.”
The equipment installed Saturday was purchased through Sports & Recreation Associates of Pittsburgh thanks to $27,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Program. It encompasses a little more than 5,500-square feet and contains multiple slides, monkey bars, climbing walls and other “surprises.”
The equipment rests on hardwood chips, tested and proven to lessen the risk of injury in case of a fall. Also, restingnear the large pavilion, will be a six-seat swing set. Amato said the Bellwood-Antis Lions’ Club donated the set.
Despite inclement weather conditions in the morning, the afternoon sun emerged from the clouds for an enjoying day of building with township supervisors, school board members, district magistrate candidates and other community-minded individuals.
In 2002, Amato claims state inspectors took a look at B-A Community Park and its playground equipment, but didn’t have a lot of good “safety-oriented” things to say about it.
“They found that about 99 percent of it was unsafe for children,” said Amato.
He said the park authority got in touch with leaders in Bellwood Borough to see what they could do about. Everyone agreed to seek state funding.
Once the money was secured and the right equipment was found, the authority went ahead with the project. On Thursday and Friday, township work crews from both Bellwood Borough and Antis Township began preparing the site in the park by digging post holes and establishing the foundation for the equipment. They also were busy with the beginning of the assembly.
Also Saturday, Tyrone Borough officially opened Reservoir Park and introduced new playground equipment of their own. The equipment itself was installed many months ago with a “Community Build” project similar to Saturday’s at the B-A Community Park.
The equipment was purchased for a little more than $45,000 from General Recreation of Newtown Square.