Lots of Park Updates! & Next Steps…

Next Meeting: Monday Sept. 16th 6:30pm
Where: Quaker Church-252 A st.
Guest Speaker: Curtis Hetrick from the East Side Neighbors will discuss how their group organized the upgrades at Biddle Mission Park.  This will help us organize our plans, fundraising and documentation based on what was successful for their project.
Agenda: (see bottom of post)

Wow!  We have been busy.  Since our last meeting a few West Siders have been reaching out to get more people on board to help get the park project underway.  If you haven’t been able to get involved in the project yet, no worries, we are just getting started.  PLEASE come out to the next meeting to learn more about (and get involved in) this grassroots neighborhood project!


  • We met with Glenn White from the Downtown Carlisle Association to discuss using their non-profit 501c3 status for our fundraising.  They will also be the place where funds raised will be held and tallied.
  • We are meeting with Ed LeClear from the Cumberland County Redevelopment Authority next week.  We had $27,000 from the Elm Street Program Grant transferred to this project.  He will help us understand how those funds can be used, what restrictions might apply to it and if there is a time frame in which it has to be spent.

Screen shot 2013-08-02 at 9.15.15 AMOrganizing

The major priority we have currently is to finalize the park plan and costs associated with it so it can be approved by the Parks and Rec Board and then move on to Borough Council.

  • We spoke with Andrea Crouse, Director of Parks and Recreation, who said we need a “concrete plan that would include a revised drawing, projected maintenance costs and the total cost of the project.  The final plan could be composed of comments from the August Parks and Recreation Board meeting and from the other meetings that you’ve had with the West Side Neighbors.”
  • Three students from the Dickinson College Course “Building Sustainable Communities” will be assisting over the semester in a few areas.  We have given them options related to grants research, edible landscape maintenance/best practices research and cost analysis.  They have been invited to our meetings so hopefully some will be able to attend the meeting on Sept. 16th.
  • Spoke with representatives from East Side Neighbors and South of South Neighbors to get input on what has worked in their park upgrade projects and how they organized their plans, priorities and time line.


The school year has already begun which gave us great opportunities to connect with classes that require service learning projects or youth groups that also have a service component requirement.  We wanted to contact them early as they are just now trying to organize their projects for the semester or year.

  • Both Carlisle Area School District’s “Center for Careers and Technology” and the Cumberland-Perry Vo-Tech schools have been receptive to building some structures for the project at cost of materials.  Students would build the wooden structures such as picnic tables, benches, raised beds, pergola or other things we may need.  They said if we can find free plans online and pay for the materials, the labor is free.  There are LOTS of free plans out there.   (see below for pinterest pop out)
  • A sculpture class might be willing to have students create a piece for the park.  It might be a functional piece such as chess tables or other item that could be creatively designed.
  • ALLARM (Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring) are offering rain barrels to collect water for the raised beds and other water needs.
  • Earth Now (Dickinson student org) is interested in donating a few edible trees/shrubs to the park.
  • We have also reached out to Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts, CASD Careers & Technology, Hope Station 7th Grade Leadership, Carlisle Victory Circle and National Honor Society about any other service opportunities we could provide for the youth in their programs.

So what’s next?  Here is what is on our plate at the upcoming meeting on Sept. 16th (6:30pm Quaker Church 252 A St)

Meeting Agenda

  • Updates – Much of what is above will be summarized as well as hearing from others who weren’t able to share updates with us yet.
  • Guest Speaker-Curtis Hetrick from the East Side Neighbors will discuss how their group organized the upgrades at Biddle Mission Park.  This will help us organize our plans, fundraising and documentation based on what was successful for their project.
  • Project Plan- We will further discuss the draft plan and what we still want to change/add or remove.  Some items that were discussed being added were a water fountain, chess tables, swings, stone fireplace grills (instead of metal ones) and natural playscapes.  Please try to take a look at some ideas for natural/recycled playscapes so you can come to the meeting with some ideas for discussion.  We will need to figure out what we want the final plan to be so we can come up with a cost breakdown and maintenance analysis.  Our hope is it bring this plan back to the Parks and Rec meeting the first week of October.