Antrim Township supervisors visit site of potential Heritage Park

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot

Questions about use were at the forefront of a discussion about a potential new park in Antrim Township. Supervisors Rick Baer, Fred Young III, John Alleman and Chad Murray met with two members of The Archaeological Conservancy at a worksession Feb. 2. Pat Heraty was absent.

 Eastern Region director Andy Stout, and field rep Kelly Berliner agreed that visits by the public were a priority for The Ebbert Spring Archaeological Preserve and Heritage Park. The proposed park would be located on the property now owned by Al Bonnell, south of Greencastle. Stout has advocated the creation of the park to Antrim and other parties over the past several months.

“We want to maximize the public use and benefit,” Stout said.

Due to its archaelogical and historical value, Allison-Antrim Museum and state agencies were interested in preserving the property. Stout called that “the glue that makes this work.” But the project needed some upfront money, and Stout had asked Antrim for $250,000 toward the purchase price. He was optimistic the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources would match it.

Stout thought tourists, including those on bus trips, students, people on work breaks, and those who enjoyed walking for exercise, would enjoy exploring the property. There would be trails and educational kiosks. The grounds would be open daylight hours, and the 1756 house on special occasions.

“My fear is it won’t be used a lot,” said Young. “How will it be marketed?”

He was especially concerned that if Antrim was invested heavily on the financial end, there would not be a “community buy-in” for donations of money or volunteer help for maintenance and improvements.

Stout and Berliner had given Young, Murray, Heraty and administrator Brad Graham a tour of the property Tuesday afternoon. Stout had also asked if Antrim could take care of plowing, mowing and trash removal.

“I think that’s something we can absorb,” said Graham. Beyond that, township staff was too busy.

Stout was anxious to seal the deal, as otherwise the family could put the property on the open market. Closing would take at least 14 months.

“I’m good. We can work out the logistics,” Baer said.

The item will be on the Feb. 9 board of supervisors agenda.