Consultant to plan park expansion, committee coming later this month
Panel will gather public feedback about how to incorporate new parcel into park
HATFIELD TWP. >> A consultant is now on board, and 2017 should bring significant progress in plans for the expansion of Clemens Park.
Hatfield’s officials announced Wednesday the planner they’ve chosen to help guide a public process to plan the park expansion.
“At this point, the committee is recommending that the commissioners consider appointing Simone Collins to perform the master site plan,” said commissioner Laura Thomas.
Expanding Clemens Park has been on Hatfield’s to-do list since early 2015, when the township began the process of acquiring a 4.8-acre parcel directly adjacent to the 11-acre park from the Nolen family. After the property was formally acquired by the township, Hatfield applied for, and received, $20,000 in planning grant funds from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
A local match of the same amount has been provided by Clemens Food Group, and last fall Thomas said an internal committee of she, township Manager Aaron Bibro, and several parks board members and residents were interviewing consultants to steer that effort. Nine firms applied, four were interviewed in December, and one has now been chosen.
They’ve chosen planner Peter Simone of Norristown-based Simone Collins Landscape Architecture, Thomas said Wednesday, because he and his firm have worked on several prior township projects, including the Hatfield Greenways and Trails Network Master Plan in 2009 that was also vetted and approved by DCNR. Several township residents have expressed interest in serving on a public committee that will develop the plan for the park expansion, Thomas said, and those names will be announced at the commissioners’ Jan. 25 meeting when volunteers are appointed for new terms, and when a contract with the consultant is formally approved.
“Once the board is appointed at our regular meeting, the process can begin,” Thomas said.
All of that public committee’s meetings will be publicly advertised, and open to anyone who wants to share feedback, Thomas said. Surveys will be sent out to residents near the park, asking what they’d like to see there, and residents will also be asked to share their thoughts online via the township’s website.
“The goal is to expand the park based on feedback from the community, rather than just a handful of people,” she said.
The study is estimated to cost $46,000, according to Bibro, and the costs will be covered by the state grant money, the donation from the Clemens Food Group, and any excess by township funds.
Several other parks-related events are in the works, including an expanded “Fire and Ice Festival” at the Hatfield Aquatic Center from 2 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 21. The Fire and Ice Festival will be an expanded version of previous winter events, when visitors can jump into the pool at the Aquatic Center, then enjoy hot beverages and a chili cook off. This year’s event will feature a bonfire and a presentation by a local ice sculptor, along with games, crafts, and several food trucks, and proceeds from those who donate at the event will be donated to Manna on Main Street.
Season passes for the Hatfield Aquatic Center are now available for purchase, Thomas said, with a 10 percent discount for those who buy before March 3, and a 5 percent discount for buying by May 5. Thanks to new software, passes can now be purchased online with no convenience fees, or in person at the township municipal building during normal office hours, according to Thomas.
Other winter programs in the works include a series of dance-themed fitness classes starting Jan. 26, indoor pickleball lessons through the end of January, and bus trips to see several Broadway musicals in New York in the coming months.
Hatfield’s commissioners next meet at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at the township administration building, 1950 School Road.
For more about the township and its upcoming events visit www.HatfieldTownship.org or follow @ Hatfield PA on Twitter, and for more on the Aquatic Center visit www.Swimhatfield.org or follow @SwimHatfield on Twitter.