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GARA Reports new income in 2021; Considers a long-range strategic plan

Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority (GARA) Executive Director Erin Peddigree said most of the official sports activities were closing down for the winter months but that there were still many people using the park.

She said many new trees and a butterfly garden have been planted and thanked the Girl Scouts and the Green Gathering for their help.

Peddigree said about 150 children showed up at the inaugural Trick or Treat Trail in October and that a holiday crafts show would be held during the Christmas Festival weekends.

The board discussed the conditions of the maintenance equipment at the park. Board President Steve Neibler said he had received calls from the maintenance crew about broken equipment. The rec park particularly needs a new zero-turn mower and a utility vehicle.

The board tentatively approved the 2022 budget of about $220,000.

Peddigree said GARA had received $6,000 from the inaugural Fourth of July Fireworks event and that, due to an increase in the number of tour buses holding lunches in the park, rentals on the pavilions were up to about $14,000 this year from a normal $5,000-$6,000 level in past years.   

Peddigree said she was hoping that both the Borough and Cumberland Township would be increasing their contributions to the park from $52,000 to $70,000 in 2022.

The budget includes about $20,000 in building upgrades, $10,000 for equipment repair, and $4,000 for equipment purchases.

Peddigree said a bus trip to New York City would hopefully be scheduled in 2022.

Tom Demko, who joined the board in October, said he would be willing to play a leadership role on developing a new strategic plan for the rec park.

Board members said there had been a general 10-year plan when the rec park had been founded and agreed a new strategic plan would be useful.

Demko said the plan would provide opportunities to engage people in the community and develop partnerships and that the planning process could begin as early as 2022. “Maybe there are opportunities we’re not thinking of,” he said.

The plan would assess the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for the rec park, perhaps conducting focus groups to learn public perceptions. “Planning projects can be very beneficial,” said Demko.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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