GARA approves 2023 budget

The Gettysburg Recreational Authority (GARA) board of directors has approved the 2023 budget. The budget includes increases for staff salaries; $20,000 for building upgrades; support for out-of-area bus trips; and $7,000 in equipment repair.  The board approved the budget with the caveat that it may need to be amended.

Saying a positive relationship with the school district was important, the board discussed the need to include a member who represents the Gettysburg Area School District.  “It kind of hurts that we don’t have the school district here,” said Board President Steve Niebler.

GARA Len Dick Sign1

The board will create a list of contacts to assist with the search. “A retired teacher would be perfect,” said Executive Director Erin Peddigree.

Peddigree said the south end restrooms had been closed for the winter season and all sports activities were finished for the rest of the season. “We’re still pretty busy in October,” she said.

Peddigree said the parking lot lights had been repaired and upgraded.

Pedigree said the roofs on Weikert Field and the amphitheater need to be repaired and that she had requested quotes from two roofing companies to perform the work. She said water leakage was detected but no mold had been seen and that the expected cost was $5,000 to $7,000 for each structure.

Peddigree said a team of students from the school district’s tech program had visited to look at the project and that the Optimist Club of Gettysburg had donated $1,500 toward the work.

Requests have been received to reopen the park’s baseball press box. Peddigree said the scoreboard was still operative and that Little League had asked to make use of it for their games in the future. 

Peddigree said results from the Giving Spree will be announced in mid-December. 

Peddigree said the 2022 Sports Hall of Fame Dinner had gone well.

Returning to a theme they have discussed before, the board considered the need to keep the historic baseball plaques on display in the Assembly Room.  The building still houses plaques going back to the 1930s that are taking up space and only a few visitors seem interested in the old plaques. 

Peddigree said very few people came to see the plaques. “We had maybe 5 people this year,” she said.

A suggestion was made to limit plaques displayed to the past three years and move legacy plaques to different locations, for instance the new welcome center or to the respective schools where players came from. 

The board suggested images of the plaques could be uploaded to their respective websites with links to GARA website.  The board will discuss the issue further.

The board approved a $2.2 million grant proposal to Adams County in partnership with the Adams County Farmers Market. The funds would be earmarked for parking lot painting, installing park gates, benches and trash bins in the park.

Peddigree said the proposal also requested funds to renovate the Activities Building.  Phase 1 would cover repairing existing structures; Phase 2 would cover permits and architect services; and Phase 3 would be used toward the actual building renovation. 

Niebler said he had read part of the grant proposal. “It was the most excellent proposal I have ever seen. It’s really very, very well done. A professional job,” he said.

Peddigree said GARA had also applied for a Star Grant from the Adams County Arts Council to fund summer concerts, repairs to murals, and other needs.

A surprise retirement party was held for former maintenance employee Steve Williams. “He talked about the whole history of the rec park; as long as he had been alive; everything that has happened here in his lifetime – all 70 years worth. It was really neat,” said Niebler.

GARA has announced a part-time position to replace Williams.

Peddigree said she had shared a report about park activities with Gettysburg Borough which has budgeted $75,000 to GARA for the 2023 budget.

Peddigree said GARA’s income was good from reservation requests in 2022, with  people coming in from areas including Gettysburg and New Oxford, and as far as Hanover.

GARA also received $10,000 from private donations.

Peddigree said she was in talks with the Gettysburg Tour Company to arrange for three different bus trips: one in the spring (beach); one in the summer (perhaps Harpers Ferry and casinos); and one in December (New York City).

Peddigree said a Trick or Treat event that would include a Movie in the Park event around Halloween was planned for next year.

The board approved the 2023 calendar of meetings. Meetings are typically held on the 3rd Monday of the month at 7:00 p.m. in the Sterner building. There are two exceptions due to holidays in 2023:  January 9th and February 13th.

The next meeting will be on Jan. 9, 2023.

The board also discussed and approved the current financial report. Board Chair Steve Niebler asked Treasurer Max Laing to investigate financial products for investing GARA funds. 

The board thanked Peddigree for an excellent job and the great appearance of the park.  It was particularly emphasized that she had gone above and beyond her duties.

Donate Gardner is a freelance journalist who came to Gettysburg in 2021 from Montgomery County, Maryland.
A former linguist-turned-legal professional, Donate recently retired from the corporate world and is eager to support her new community in a variety of ways. As an immigrant born, raised, and educated in Germany, Donate still maintains a strong connection to the German language as a freelance writer and translator. Donate is an active musician and has made her new home in Gettysburg available to host house concerts for traveling musicians and local artists in need of support. Donate and her husband have two daughters and three grandchildren.

Charles (Chuck) Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Owner, Publisher, and Editor in Chief. I would like to hear from you. Please contact me at

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