The site of the proposed Elrama Central Park was formerly the location of an industrial “Chrome Shop”located in the center of a residential neighborhood. From the period of 1947 to 2003, the property was used for various heavy industry tasks of metal finishing until the property was ultimately left unmitigated and abandoned in 2004. After sitting abandoned for years, an EPA Phase I assessment grant was successfully utilized on the property, following by a Phase 2 ESA and remediation completed in 2017 funded by the PA Industrial Sites Reuse Program. Portions of the property evaluation and cleanup were also funded through sources made available by the Washington County Redevelopment Authority. With the full support of Union Township and the residents of Elrama, the property achieved Limited Liability Protection under Act 2 for the construction of a neighborhood park as of 2018.
At the end of 2017, Union Township, the Washington County Redevelopment Authority, and Park Planning personnel held a town hall meeting with the residents of Elrama to receive input on the vision for the park. The sentiment was unanimous that the main elements would include paved parking, playgrounds, swings, benches, a pavilion, and open recreation area. Following through on those wishes, the Township commissioned its engineer to create a Master Plan for the park.
The Township has spent the last few years applying for grants for Phase I for the park, which included the construction of a pavilion and parking lot, as well as minor other park improvements. In 2019, Union Township was successfully awarded a DCNR grant for approximately $50,000, covering half of the expenses estimated for Phase I. Design and bid plans for Phase I are currently being completed, and construction is expected to begin in the Spring of 2020.
In addition, the Board has filed a DCED Greenways Trails and Recreation Program (GTRP) Grant application for Phase II of the park, which will include playscapes for children ages 2-12,a paved ADA compliant pathway to all recreation areas,a swing set that will include two ADA swings, trees, and other landscaping activities. The Board submitted for $150,000 in funding for Phase II, with an 18% funding match. Grants have not yet been awarded for this cycle of applications, and we are hopeful that funding will come through to provide a great asset to the Union Township community.