Nestled near the Musser Gap Recreation Area, and between Route 45 and Whitehall Road, lies Whitehall Road Regional Park (future address is 1954 Blue Course Drive Extension). The first 75 acres of this park were purchased in 2008 with assistance from Ferguson Township and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources as well as municipal funding. Again, with financial assistance from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Ferguson Township, and with the municipal funding in place, the remaining 25 acres were acquired in 2011. The 100-park went through an original master planning process in 2009-2010. In 2013, the Master Plan was updated.
The 2013 updated plan incorporates the following proposed features as previously suggested by the COG Parks Capital Committee and the Centre Region Parks & Recreation Authority:
- Increase the size of the site provided for the potential “field sports building” to accommodate a larger soccer field, and adjust the adjacent facilities as needed.
- Incorporate the recommended site for the Centralized Parks Maintenance Facility to replace the “park-specific maintenance area” originally proposed. The specific details and phasing of the Centralized Maintenance Facility will be proposed in a forthcoming Master Plan for that facility and presented at a future meeting. This plan only indentifies a possible site; any further action will require COG General Forum authorization.
- Incorporate a future site recommendation for a CRPR Agency Headquarters Building, in the event that those offices are moved from the COG Building on Gateway Drive. This plan only indentifies a possible site; any further action will require COG General Forum authorization.
- Show specifics regarding the proposed landscape buffers, stormwater provisions and building coverage calculations to better meet the Municipal Land Development requirements for the upcoming Phase 1 development project.
And since the 2013 update, the Centralized Maintenance Facility was requested to be removed from the plan; at this time, an updated site plan drawing has not been created with that change.
Development of the park was on hold for many years due to litigation with adjoining property; the landowners of the adjoining property had agreed through a public-private partnership to provide a large amount of infrastructure such as the entrance road, traffic light, PennDOT-required off-site improvements, and utilities such as water, sewer (plus a pump house), electric, and natural gas. Because that partnership was on hold during litigation, it did not make sense to build that park and spend funds on items that would be provided at no cost to the Agency. Therefore, CRPR, COG, and the interested public waited.
In December 2017, the litigation was finalized and the adjoining property owners were given approval to move forward with their land development plans. That green light allowed the public-private partnership to become active again which allows that infrastructure to be provided for the park's development; that infrastructure has a value of approximately $1.2 million dollars and allows the Agency to reinvest those funds in the Phase I development of the park.
The current Phase I development includes two artificial turf rectangular, multi-purpose fields with LED sports field lights that can host soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, rugby, flag football, football, special events, and more. In addition, this phase will include two grass rectangular multi-purpose fields, parking, an All-Ability and Universally-Accessible Playground, an all-season pavilion/restroom/concession stand, and a 12,000 linear foot walking path. The artificial turf and lights are upgrades that were proposed in the 2013 update to the Master Plan. At this time, those upgrades will be provided if parks and recreation is able to generate the additional revenue through grants and private fundraising. Included in the park's master plan but not being constructed at this time are spaces for additional community gardens and a second community dog park.
In December 2019, the Land Development Plan was approved by Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors. In early 2020, the parks and recreation agency will be working toward finalizing the budget, reviewing funding levels, hiring a project management team, and beginning the bidding process. The Agency hopes to break ground in early summer 2020.
If you would like to support the development of the Whitehall Road Regional Park, particularly the artificial turf and LED sports field lights, and want to contribute financially to these projects, your donation is welcome, no matter the amount. Your help is greatly appreciated so that we can see this park through to its full development!