By: Noah Martin and Dalton Rutter/Senior Writers
Recently, Blue Ridge received a grant of $700,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s (DCED) and the Keystone Communities Program (KPC).
Since Blue Ridge is the main spot for activities, says Superintendent Matthew Button, “we now have a way to expand our footprint to develop more community-centered opportunities for the individuals who reside in our area.”
The grant monies will be used to purchase 13.73 acres of land adjacent to the Blue Ridge School District campus. The plot of land will be developed into a parks and recreation area in five phases.
Phases one and two involve building softball and soccer fields that will serve youth programs from the community as well as Blue Ridge School District programs.
In phase three the Blue Ridge School District maintenance facility will be relocated to best serve the new parks and recreation grounds as well as the school’s campus.
Phase four involves developing a half mile walking trail to promote and support community exercise, health, and wellness.
“There is the possibility for future expansion that would increase the walking trail from half a mile to three quarters of a mile and eventually to one mile,” says Button.
In the final and fifth phase, the District plans to install a playground.
“The Blue Ridge School District was very excited and appreciative to receive the KCP grant of $700,000. Our school district serves as the hub for the community and any way we can expand our facilities and programs to better serve our community is a wonderful thing,” says Button.
“After the new recreation area is built, there will be a lot more spots for families to gather and a new spot for junior and high school sports to be played. This new addition to Blue Ridge School District will help out the whole community!”
The district serves New Milford Borough, Jackson Township, Hallstead Borough, Great Bend Borough, and Great Bend Township and serves as the hub for a large majority of community programs for the students and families.