On September 12, 2005, the Richland Township Board of Supervisors approved the proposal of the Richland Township Park and Recreation Board to construct a new park to be called Veterans Park. The proposed park will be constructed on about 20 acres along a portion of East Pumping Station Road between California Road and Heller Road.
The proposed park will be a multi-purpose park incorporating many of the recommendations suggested by Township residents participating in a survey conducted over the past year by the Park and Recreation Board, according to Board Co-Chairman Carla DeMuro-Mercon. The new park will contain six softball fields, two multi-use sports fields that will be suitable for activities such as soccer, field hockey and lacrosse, a walking trail with fitness stations that can also be used for dog walking and biking, a tot playground area and a picnic area
that will include a pavilion. With over 320 parking spaces proposed for the new park, it will be an ideal location for future community events such as the Township’s annual Community Day and the recently initiated “movie nights.”
Mrs. DeMuro-Mercon noted that the new park would seek to fill a void in the Upper Bucks Area. The area has many facilities for baseball, football and soccer, but lacks facilities for girl’s softball. The Richland Area Softball Association (RASA) had over 250 girls participating in softball this year, but was very hampered trying to schedule games due to limited facilities in the area. RASA will be a partner with the Township in developing the park. Four of the softball fields will have lights and will be suitable for tournament play with scoreboards, a centralized press box and a refreshment stand.
Construction of the new park is expected to cost about $2.5 million, but RASA has volunteered to contribute over $600,000 towards the project through fund raising, donated labor and other donations. A large portion of the remainder of the cost will come from recreation fees that the Township has collected from developers during the past several years. While some work may
begin before the end of the year, it is expected that the bulk of the work will begin in the spring with the park being opened for use in the spring of 2007.
The Park and Recreation Board chose “Veterans Park” as the name for this new park because it will also be the location of a proposed memorial to the Township’s veterans. The Park and Recreation Board are currently working with artists from Temple University to develop a design for the memorial. Donations towards the park and the memorial will be appreciated.
The Township’s Trails Committee has planned a hike and bike trail that will connect the park with the Walnut Bank Farm development by way of Heller Road. The Trails Committee is also exploring options to extend a trail east from the park that can connect to the Heather Valley and Richland Station developments along with Richlandtown Borough. A trail was opened last year connecting the Walnut Bank Farm development with Mill Street in Quakertown near the new library and Quakertown’s Memorial Park.
The property that will be used for the new park is a portion of the Kelly tract that the Township’s Preservation Board acquired last year with the help of a grant from the Bucks County Open Space Program. This property was the Township’s first acquisition using funds raised from the special open space earned income tax increase approved by a referendum of the Township’s voters. The Township purchased the property, consisting of 106 acres along East Pumping Station Road and the Tohickon Creek, for $750,000, which included a $250,000 Natural Areas
Program Grant from the County. At the time of the purchase, 23 acres was designated for active recreation with the remaining area to be preserved as a natural area.